Andy Newman, 78, from Glasgow is a lifelong Scotland fan who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was the lucky winner of a ticket giveaway by Alzheimer Scotland, with tickets donated by Para Football Scotland and Football Memories Scotland. Andy was joined by three of his sons to cheer the team to victory last night, as Scotland triumphed over the Danes at Hampden Park.
Andy received his diagnosis one week before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic so initially the support he received was delivered digitally. Now, Andy is a regular at the Glasgow Drop in Café where he enjoys activities including snooker and bingo. Andy and wife Ellen say the Café and visits from Alzheimer Scotland staff have been huge support since his diagnosis, saying he “couldn’t fault it”.
Andy is a passionate Celtic supporter and has lived in the vicinity of the national stadium all his life. He remembers when he was young and would ask to be lifted over the wall to see the games. Later, Andy would be an active member of the Celtic supporter’s club and would proudly participate in charity fundraising activities. Football has been a big feature of family life for Andy, Ellen and their four sons who participate in Football Fans in Training - a league for 30-60 year olds and train once a week. Andy recalls his sons being so determined to see Scotland play in Paris in 2007 that they wouldn’t let a fear of flying stand in their way and took the train instead, despite a tough night’s sleep in the station!
Ellen was delighted to hear “her boys” would get to attend the game, saying: “I screamed! I thought you were calling to update me on the Drop in Café. They are very excited!”
Football Memories Scotland works in strategic partnership with Alzheimer Scotland to facilitate its national, world-leading programme of football reminiscence. The many groups around Scotland who meet virtually or in-person, are all dementia friendly whilst aiming also to support people experiencing loneliness, depression and social isolation.
A proud member of Scottish Para Football, the Football Memories Scotland team was delighted to welcome Andy and his family to the national stadium, where the reminiscence programme has its headquarters. Robert Craig, Chair of the Scottish Football Museum which manages the Football Memories project, said: “The opportunity to invite Andy and his family to this special international match at Hampden Park is fantastic. The strategic partnership that Football Memories has with Alzheimer Scotland is so important. The strength of this relationship, combined with our involvement with Scottish Para Football as a Game Leader, means that we can work collectively towards our goals of greater opportunities for all and greater social connections through football for all.”
Speaking of the impact of the partnership work with Football Memories, Jim Pearson, Director of Policy and Practice at Alzheimer Scotland said: “We thank the Scottish Football Museum and Scottish Para Football for the generous opportunity to invite Andy and his family to this special international match at Scotland’s National Football Stadium.
“Football is at the heart of our communities and is the source of so many rich and often shared memories. It is this which makes football such a powerful vehicle for meaningful reminiscence activities which bring huge benefit for people living with dementia and their families. The work we do with Football Memories Scotland is crucial to ensuring the continuation of this very important engagement work around Scotland for so many people. We hope that Andy and his family have a wonderful evening of football and come away with great memories to share together long after the final whistle.”
The Scotland Men’s National Team put in an outstanding display at Hampden Park to finish their World Cup qualification campaign on a high, beating Denmark 2-0 and ending the Danes’ unbeaten run of 26 World Cup qualifying matches. A home tie in the Play Offs awaits Steve Clarke’s side, with the Play Off draw taking place in Zurich on November 26th.