hugh before and after

Leicestershire Dementia Friendly Football Sessions Reignite The Love For The Game

Everyone Active launched weekly dementia friendly football sessions in partnership with the Leicestershire and Rutland County FA this season.

Everyone Active launched a dementia friendly football session in partnership with the Leicestershire and Rutland County FA (LRCFA) this season, with sessions taking place weekly on Monday mornings at 11 a.m. at Huncote Leisure Centre.

The sessions were created following a consultation with the Leicestershire branch of the Alzheimer's Society and one of their service users. The sessions have been running since October and have been regularly attended by those living with dementia, both previous footballers and those new to the sport.

Members who attended the last dementia friendly football session


Why Dementia Friendly Football?

Dementia friendly football offers a friendly and welcoming environment to enable those living with dementia, their support networks, and the local community the opportunity to play football, meet new people, laugh, and get fit on their terms with no commitments.

Sessions are also delivered by an FA-qualified coach with support from a dedicated dementia adviser.

Speaking on the importance of dementia friendly football in the county, LRCFA Development Lead Karl Percival said“Football unites everyone, whether they play or support. These sessions give people the opportunity to continue enjoying the game they love whilst also being able to connect and socialise with others in similar situations.”

Famous Faces

During these sessions, you might even see a few familiar faces, including former Leicester City attacker Hugh Mcilmoyle.

Hugh had three years working in a shipyard after leaving school and played for a local amateur team during this time, before joining Leicester City FC. At Leicester, he featured in the 1961 FA Cup Final, facing the formidable Spurs team, a match he recalls as his toughest. Noteworthy moments in his career include three stints with Carlisle United, his beloved team, where he set the club's goal-scoring record for a season during his initial tenure.

Hugh during his time at Carlisle United


His third return coincided with Carlisle's sole top-division season. Additionally, signing twice for his childhood club, Greenock Morton marked significant milestones. A statue of Hugh stands outside Carlisle’s Brunton Park grou

Hugh and his son with his statue at Brunton Park

Hugh was fully diagnosed with Alzheimer's in November 2018 in Newcastle and moved to Leicestershire as more support from his family was needed. The former Carlisle United player has been attending the dementia friendly football session since October with his son Alan Mcilmoyle, who had plenty of praise for the sessions. 
He said: “The dementia friendly football sessions have been wonderful. We try to keep Dad as active as possible, and this is perfect. It definitely puts a smile on his face.”

Everyone Active, Activity and Wellbeing Manager, Nick Evatt said: "I'm delighted to see the dementia friendly walking football sessions at Huncote go from strength to strength.
"The session really shows how a partnership approach can support the local community to maintain physical activity participation and reap the benefits that this brings."

How can I join in?
There will be a dementia friendly football coffee morning on Monday, 8th April 2024 at Huncote Leisure Centre, from 11am to 1pm. A light football session will take place during the first hour, followed by drinks and cakes, with the players bringing old photographs of themselves from their sporting days to share memories and stories together. 

There will also be a second Dementia Friendly Football session launched later this year in Melton, also run by Everyone Active.

For more information on how you can get involved please contact: 

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