Published 3 June 2021

Peter has been volunteering for Sporting Memories in Wales as an Online Session Supporter, for Clubs based in the Vale of Glamorgan

When Peter retired from full-time work, he felt that he needed to keep his mind and body active and that it would be better to do this through something he has a passion for.

“I’m very pleased to be volunteering with Sporting Memories and it is precisely the kind of thing I had been looking for. I have always been bonkers about sport, watching and playing, so I wanted to do some voluntary things – not lots of committees; something a bit more active where you meet new people and it would fit in with my interests.”

Peter is the most passionate about football. “My favourite sports are football, rugby, tennis and cricket. The only games I have ever been any good at playing are racquet sports. I have a season ticket for my favourite football team. Sporting Memories is a channel for all that sporting interest that is in my head.”

Peter enjoys the variety of sports that he encounters while volunteering with Sporting Memories: “One of the good things that I have found as a volunteer is that while some of the so-called bigger sports do dominate some of the time, we quite often find ourselves going down a little niche area and talking about water polo, perhaps. At one meeting, because most of the people involved in the group are men, we deliberately set ourselves the topic of talking about women in sport and it ended up being one of the best conversations we have had.”

Peter saw the opportunity to volunteer for Sporting Memories on the national volunteering website for Wales. “I was sent a few opportunities before this one but I just thought, ‘Wow, this could be just right for me’. Nikki [Sporting Memories Project Coordinator for Wales] got in touch and it was all very efficient. Before long I was actually involved.”

Peter finds that one of the biggest motivations for him for volunteering with Sporting Memories is that it is fun. “Altruism is great but it is going to work better if the volunteer is motivated and interested and certainly I feel that. Nikki, our main Coordinator and supporter, has been fantastic. She has been so helpful and reassuring.

Peter's father

Peter talks about his father, Glyn – who during his life was incredibly passionate about sport and kindled Peter’s love of sport and talking about sport. For Peter, the first match they went to is perhaps his strongest memory, but overall it is their shared experiences of sport that are the most important.

“I love sport partly because I was very close to my father and my father was passionate about sport. He was a North Walian who went to live in London after the war. The post-war years were a golden age for British sport. He kept all his diaries and I have all the programmes. Literally hundreds of sports programmes from the 1940s. Lots of football, rugby, tennis, cricket; also speedway, ice hockey, boxing, wrestling – you name it, he’s got tickets and programmes.

“He started taking me to watch football when I was about 7 or 8, and rugby, and we played tennis. My taid [grandfather] worked out of Liverpool docks and supported Everton – during the 1930s, he inspired my dad to support Everton, and I and my sister Sue inherited the passion from Dad! He started taking us to games in the 1960s and so I think probably the first time he took me to Goodison to see Everton to play is one of my special sporting moments. Now it’s my son Dan who comes with me to see the games”.

Peter found that as for many men, sport was the main topic of conversation between himself and his father.

“Sport was the main subject we talked about throughout our lives. When I left home and would ring home about once a week, I would talk to my mum about what was going on in my life, while I would mostly talk to my dad about the football. And to an extent I am doing the same thing with my own son.

“My volunteering with Sporting Memories is to an extent all very bound up with family, which is bittersweet but an additional motivation for volunteering. My dad developed Alzheimer’s at quite a young age, and died aged 70. So it is quite personal to me that one of the key client groups for Sporting Memories is people who are living with dementia.

During the year before Peter’s father Glyn died, Glyn was having was having difficulty talking. “But you could see him beaming when in 1995 we watched Everton lift the FA Cup on TV so that was very bittersweet, but an important memory for me.”