The Day Alan Shearer Came To Town

Issued: Friday, September 1

FOOTBALL legend and former England captain Alan Shearer recently paid a visit to Waltham Library where he took part in one of Lincs Inspire’s Sporting Memories sessions whilst filming for a new BBC One documentary, Dementia – Football’s Silent Shame?

Sporting Memories is a national initiative supporting wellbeing through reminiscence and Lincs Inspire host weekly meetings at Waltham Library. The sessions provide a relaxed and informal environment in which memories of sport are shared and friendships are established. Sport is something that many people are comfortable talking about and these sessions, although not exclusively for people with dementia, help to combat social isolation and are all about inclusion and fun.

Regular members of the group were treated to an extra special visit from the all-time leading Premier League goal scorer who thoroughly enjoyed the session. Shearer explained: “I thought it was brilliant, there’s so much energy in there. You can tell how much they all enjoy it. They all interact with each other, they all have a laugh and a joke and it’s great to see.

“Speaking to them afterwards you can see what it does for them. It gets them out and about, it gets them speaking to people and it gets them interacting with each other which is great to see.”

Shearer, who famously played for Newcastle and Blackburn Rovers, added: “They’re non-stop with stories about Grimsby and football in general and so it was brilliant. I really loved it.”

Jennie Cartwright, Development Officer for Lincs Inspire Libraries, who led the special session, said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant. There’s been a real buzz in the group today. They’ve thoroughly enjoyed it! We wanted to keep the group as normal as possible. Obviously it’s normal, but it’s not normal with someone like Alan Shearer visiting, that doesn’t happen every week!”

Alan wasted no time in getting involved, despite recently undergoing surgery on his wrist, Jennie explained: “He just walked in, he participated, he joined in with the quiz we were doing, he had a cuppa and he stayed and all of the group were asking him questions. He put everybody at their ease, I think we put him at his ease as well. He’s a really naturally lovely bloke and it just means so much to the group.”

She added: “The groups are about inclusion, it’s not dementia focused, not everybody has dementia in the group. It’s about mixing people up and just enjoying conversation. Yes, two or three members of the group have got dementia but we know from having talked to their loved ones and family members that these meetings and these groups make a difference, they do bring them out of themselves. It’s just lovely to have the conversations that we have with them.”

Alan M, a regular member of the Sporting Memories group, said: “It was enjoyable having Alan [Shearer] here. It’s strange that you see people on television and you never think you’ll get the opportunity to meet them in real life and then to actually meet somebody that you’ve watched on television, not only on Match of the Day, but also play football for Newcastle and England. To actually meet a hero that you’ve seen is a wonderful experience.”

“He came across as a very nice, likeable, talkative guy, who was willing to help out with the quizzes that were happening, helping out with the conversations, talking about what he was doing; a really nice chap. I thoroughly enjoyed having him here.”

For more information about our Sporting Memories sessions at Waltham Library call Jennie Cartwright on (01472) 323615. You can also watch the video below which shows what the sessions are all about!