A popular CV Life initiative made an eagerly anticipated return this week. Sporting Memories offers the opportunity for Coventry residents over 50 years of age look back at their lives in the city through the lens of sport.
From amateur sport on the playing fields of Coventry to the heady days of topflight football from the 1960s and 70s, Sporting Memories gives everyone the chance to reminisce about a bygone era.
The monthly event was put on hold due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, sadly a time which saw many older residents become isolated or lonely. But it returned with a bang this week at Coventry and North Warwickshire Cricket Club with some genuine sporting legends from the city.
Ken Brown, who played for Coventry City in the 1950s, was joined by fellow Sky Blue legends Andy Blair and Dennis Mortimer, with legendary BBC swimming commentator and former Coventry Swimming Club coach Hamilton Bland also joining in.
The event was presented by CV Life’s own trustee and chairman, former Olympian David Moorcroft, who encouraged others to share their memories of sporting life from the school yards of Coventry to local clubs and factories.
The event has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with tea, coffee and pork batches. It also caters for people suffering with dementia and similar memory loss conditions.
Brian Falconer attended the event with friends. He said: “I thought the whole event was great, really good. It’s the first time I’ve been to this sort of thing and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“It was great seeing some old footballers – I remember watching Dennis Mortimer for Coventry, and he and Andy Blair told some stories that were fantastic to relive. Chatting like this brings back so many of those great memories.”
Jade Woodward, community programme coordinator for CV Life said: “We’ve had lots of memories of Coventry from people involved in football, swimming, rugby, cricket and some people even brought along memorabilia.
“This event is important because it gets people back out, meeting people and socialising after Covid, giving people a chance to come and share their memories.
“We’ve also had some people suffering from early onset dementia, and this is a nice, gentle way to help them remember their lives and things they liked doing. We’ve had a really nice afternoon and hope everyone enjoyed it.”
David Moorcroft said: “We’ve taken a trip down memory lane today, talking about sport in the city, both elite sport, in terms of football, rugby and swimming but also sport in the community – in schools, in factories.
“It’s very relaxed, very informal. We try and keep it light-hearted. If people want to get involve and share memories, you can, or you can just sit and listen.
“People have felt pretty isolated through Covid. So as we come out of that, getting together in a safe environment is really crucial.
“It’s been really fun and enjoyable, we’ve heard some special, special memories. It’s been a pleasant and wonderful atmosphere.”