Two Ipswich Town legends and a former Olympian will be helping to launch new Sporting Memories groups in the county’s libraries next week.

The launch of the new Sporting Memories Groups will be taking place at Ipswich County Library at 2pm on Tuesday 6 February. Roger Osborne and George Burley from the 1978 FA Cup winning Ipswich Town team will be attending the launch and sharing their recollections of the day. Former Olympian Professor Bill Tancred MBE who lives locally will also be attending.

The new groups will be running regularly at Ipswich, Sudbury, Lowestoft, Newmarket, Hadleigh and Stowmarket libraries. Sporting Memories groups are aimed at anyone over the age of 50. They are a great way of bringing people together, creating new friendships and enjoying a chance to revisit memories and share stories prompted by superb sporting images and memorabilia from local and national collections.

Open to all, the sessions include games, quizzes and a fun game or activity, and welcome people living with dementia, depression and loneliness by bringing people together to talk about their memories of sport.

2018 marks 40 years since Ipswich Town won the FA cup so many people will have fond memories of the cup run from 1978 and the moment Roger Osborne scored the winning goal. However, the project is not just about football and whether its speedway, local club cricket, or visits to the Olympics or Paralympics everyone is encouraged to share their sporting memory whether it’s taking part in sport when they were younger or witnessing an exciting sporting event.

The launch event next week runs from 2pm to 4pm in the library’s lecture theatre and is open to anyone who may be interested in joining one of the new groups or volunteering to support them. Anyone coming along is encouraged to share any sporting memories, photos or memorabilia. Councillor Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Alison Wheeler, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries will be opening the event which will also include an introduction to the new groups and some activities to take part in, including boccia and other games to try, a spot the ball competition and quiz.

There will also be a chance to view a special display of archive material from Ipswich Town Football Club’s history created by Liz Edwards, the club’s Supporter Liaison Officer. The display is currently available to view at any time inside the entrance to the library.

The East of England Co-op are also supporting the project by providing free tea at the launch and group sessions. They have also provided a pair of matchday tickets which can be won at the launch event.

Councillor Goldson. Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, said: “I am delighted to see Sporting Memories groups spreading across the library network in the county. Being at the heart of local communities they provide an ideal location for health and wellbeing activity of this nature and, I am sure, will not only be a great success but also make a meaningful contribution to Suffolk’s long-term ambition of becoming the most active county in England.”

Alison Wheeler, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries said: “I’m delighted that some of our libraries will be hosting these sessions which are another example of the really valuable community offer Suffolk Libraries continues to develop.  It also thrills me because I am a seriously enthusiastic Blues fan.”

Anyone interesting in helping to facilitate or support the new groups can find out more by contacting Richard Hunt, Suffolk Project Coordinator for the Sporting Memories Network on 07704 977322 or email richard.hunt@sportingmemoriesnetwork.com.

Sporting Memories Groups will run weekly at the following libraries:

  • Ipswich Central Library – every Tuesday from 6 February (2pm to 3.45pm)
  • Stowmarket Library – every Wednesday from 7 February (10.30am to 12.15pm)
  • Hadleigh Library every Friday from 9 February (2pm to 3.45pm)
  • Newmarket Library – every Friday from 9 February (10.30am to 12.15pm)
  • Sudbury Library – every Tuesday from 13 February (10.30am to 12.15pm)
  • Lowestoft Library – every Thursday from 1 March (10.30am to 12.15pm).

There is more information about the new groups at www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/sportingmemories and more information about the national Sporting Memories project at www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com.

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