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Shinty cards used to trigger recall in dementia sufferers

FADING black-and-white photographs of shinty players down the years are being used to help in the fight against dementia.

Sets of 100 cards bearing old shinty photographs will be launched at the Celtic Society Cup Final between Inveraray and Kyles Athletic at Old Anniesland, Glasgow.

The 'Shinty Memories' cards will be used to try to trigger memories in dementia sufferers in communities from Kingussie to Kiltarlity and Foyers to Fort William and Tighnabruaich. Organisers of the project hope that men in particular will be able to recall a player, game, goal or celebration when other memories from their lives have long since faded.

The cards have been created using archive images of players, trophies, pitches and badges. They are laminated and an accompanying booklet in English and Gaelic is being produced to help jog memories farther.

Shinty Memories is a collaborative partnership between the sport's governing body, the Camanachd Association and Alzheimer Scotland.

Shinty authority Hugh Dan MacLennan, who is coordinating the picture hand-outs, said: "There can be few clubs or families who are not aware of people who have to meet the challenges of dealing with dementia. Sport has a great deal it can contribute to making this more manageable and I am delighted that shinty is making its own contribution to that. I am also pleased to see how people have taken to the Shinty Memories presence online and how that in itself is helping people recall the sport's great past."

The Shinty Memories project is based at Glasgow's Hampden Park and managed by Michael White of Alzheimer Scotland. He said: "It was noticed that men with memory problems had an impressive recall of sports and that images triggered these memories.

"So far, we have developed football, rugby and shinty and we hope to run parallel projects for golf and cricket. We will develop the resources over time and hopefully we can get support to produce Gaelic versions as well."

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