Tackling dementia, depression and loneliness through the power of sport

Volunteers Week - Meet one of our longest serving volunteers

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Volunteers Week 2022 is all about recognising the brilliant volunteers we have at Sporting Memories that help to keep our clubs running all across England, Scotland and Wales.

During the week we will shine a spotlight on some of our volunteers as they share their journey with us as well as explaining how their volunteering helps older people in their local communities who are either living with dementia, isolated and lonely, or looking for somewhere to share their passion of sport.

In our final piece, we speak with John Collis, one of the longest serving volunteers to be involved in our network. John has been with the charity for nearly a decade, helping us with our various clubs run across Bristol over the years.

John’s volunteering adventure began with us through his passion of Cricket, particularly at the home of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club in Bristol.

“It was quite an amusing way that I got info Sporting Memories. I was looking for something to volunteer for and my sister was helping me at the time and she did a google search with the words ‘Sport, Caring and Bristol’ and the first thing that came up was that Sporting Memories was looking for volunteers.

“Another coincidence also happened at Gloucestershire Cricket Club. I regularly attend the cricket ground, even during the off season to hear from notable speakers and at one session they were meant to have John Barclay – the former England and Sussex cricketer – but in the end he couldn’t make it so they had to last minute get another speaker in place, and would you believe it, it was none other than Chris – who is the co-founder of Sporting Memories and he spoke about the charity in great detail.

“After his speech, I sat down with Chris to mention that I had applied to be a volunteer for Sporting Memories and he said at the end that he looked forward to working with me, and it’s been the same ever since!”

Thanks to the support of Gloucestershire Cricket, Sporting Memories operates many clubs across Bristol successfully and it is thanks to people including John, that these clubs are running today. John shared his reasons behind volunteering for the charity.

“I love getting out there and meeting people and I’ve always had a big interest in sport and follow football, and am a life member of Gloucestershire Cricket . But it’s lovely to get out to the clubs and speak with people each week and talk about sport. I’ve always seen myself as a frustrated sportsman, not being quite good enough to have a career playing, so the next best thing is to talk about it!”

“I can say without exception that I have enjoyed meeting all of the people I have met through Sporting Memories throughout the years and they’ve all had such interesting stories to tell about lives.”

John’s passion for the clubs he volunteers for in Bristol is shown by how he goes the extra mile to include club members. John gave one example of how his efforts meant a club member could relive an old memory from their life in Cyprus.

“One such example was a club member who was originally from Cyprus and was a sports reporter in his homeland. When he was younger, he had a pen pal in the UK who would send him clippings of football match reports, and he vividly remembered one clipping from the 1950 FA Cup Final, where brothers Leslie and Dennis Compton, who were playing for Arsenal against Chelsea, with the latter crossing the ball for the former to score.

“After a Google Search I actually found the footage of the goal which was on YouTube, so I showed him the clip and he said afterwards that he was really glad he came to Sporting Memories as he may not have ever discovered that footage.”

A huge thank you to John and Gloucestershire Cricket for their continuing support of the Sporting Memories network in Bristol.

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Volunteers

We’re always on the lookout for volunteers to help run our clubs all across England, Scotland and Wales – find out more here.

Find a club

Want to know where your nearest Sporting Memories club is? Visit our find a club page to check our your local club here!

Our impact

Reducing Isolation

Bringing older people together to reduce isolation and loneliness

Mental Wellbeing

Supporting older people to improve their mental wellbeing

Physical Wellbeing

Getting older people active to live healthier lifestyles

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