Watch emotional moment football fans with dementia break into song on Hibs' Easter Road pitch

A tour of an Edinburgh football ground brought memories of lives spent on the terraces flooding back to three pensioners.

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 5:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th November 2019, 6:38 pm

A group of life-long football fans suffering with dementia lit up Hibs' Easter Road stadium this week when they broke into a rendition of terrace anthem Glory Glory to the Hibees.

The heart-warming moment came during a tour of the ground organised by the Football Barber, Martin Murphy, who is part of the Scottish Football Association's Football Memories scheme.

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This month Mr Murphy arranged a stadium tour at Easter Road which sparked some of his clients strongest memories.

John Clark, Tam Owens and Murdoch McPherson - who are all supported by North Edinburgh Dementia Care's Seagrove Centre - joined Mr Murphy at the stadium.

As they stepped out from the tunnel onto the pitch the three men smiled at the sight of how the ground has developed over the years.

Mr Murphy said: "Every month I do a football memories group. We do a non-competitive quiz, share football programmes, sing songs and share memories.

Martin Murphy, the Football Barber (left), took three of his clients on a memory tour of Hibs' Easter Road stadium - John Clark, Tam Owens and Murdoch McPherson. Picture: Martin Murphy.

"Hibs were kind enough to take us on a tour and the guys even had a kick about on the Easter Road pitch.

"They were able to reenact and relive the memories. Murdoch used to play football at a good level so this brought it all back to him.

"It's all about peer association and confidence. Now when we do the groups it gives the guys something different to talk about. The improvement in the guys' confidence is incredible.

"The way they interact and talk now - with each other and themselves - they love it.

"Next month the plan is to get along to Tynecastle. A lot of the guys would go along to a game at either Easter Road or Tynecastle, every week.

"As long as there was football on in Edinburgh they would go along.

"The Football Memories initiative has tangible effects on people with dementia."

Mr Murphy set up The Football Barber scheme last year and uses memory boxes filled with football memorabilia to put his clients at ease and encourage them to open up.

Capital clubs Hearts and Hibs have both donated materials for the memory boxes and Mr Murphy is hoping to make up new team-themed boxes.

The idea is to reach out to men unable to attend conventional hairdressers due to their condition and provides a 'dignified, person-centred' care approach.

The project ties in with the SFA's own Football Memories scheme, run in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland.

A Hibernian FC spokesperson said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the gentlemen from the Football Memories project to Easter Road Stadium and a lovely touch from The Football Barber to arrange the visit for them. He is a force for good.”