FOOTBALL fans with dementia are finding comfort from a group where they take a trip down memory lane.

The Football Memories group is run by Morton in the Community in partnership with Alzheimer's Scotland and Inverclyde Carers' Centre.

It is proving popular, with fans of different clubs taking a nostalgic look back.

Jim Geary, 74, from Gourock, said: "I originally came along to see what people had to say about Morton and the format.

"It was one of the support workers at Alzheimer Scotland that suggested it.

"I was a big Rangers fan, then it got too expensive to go to the games, then I became a big Morton fan.

"My favourite player was Allan McGraw.

"He never gave up and was a great forward - a smashing player."

Jim says he has met new friends through the group.

He said: "You get to meet people who are in the same position, sit and blether, swap stories and add a bit of exaggeration of you feel like it."

Sean Caulfield, a dementia adviser with Alzheimer Scotland in Nicol Street, added: "There's no dementia in the room, there just men and women.

"It's life affirming for people who have dementia and the group shows them that they can remain engaged in life."

Jim, who now lives in Dungourney Drive in Greenock, with his wife, said: "Dementia is not the end of your life."

Sean added: "It's not something you die of, it's something you life with."

Jim's wife Anne said: "Jim loves the group. He likes the company and he meets people that he wouldn't normally get the chance to meet. It's been great for him.

"It's given him a new lease of life. It cheers me up and gives him a wee boost. It's really been a fantastic thing for Morton to do, we don't know what we would do without it."

Michael Hendry, support worker with Alzheimer Scotland, said: "We've been working with Morton for a year and a half on the project.

"People get a chance to reminisce and look at old photographs and talk about their first memories of the game.

"Sometimes people with dementia can feel socially isolated and when they come to the group for the first time, they can feel nervous or anxious but then they start making friends and are made to feel welcome."

John Savage, 88, who attends the group as a helper and companion, has been a Morton fan since he was three years old.

He said: "I remember being lifted over the turnstiles by my father.

"I also mended footballers' boots - the manager at the time, Jimmy Davies, used to drop them off to me.

"They were leather then with studs and I used to sew up the seams that had burst. I got paid for it and I also got into the next game for free."

John said his hero on the field was Billy Campbell.

He told the Tele: "He was a Greenockian and a very good right back and handsome player."

The sessions run every Wednesday at Cappielow between 1.30 and 3.30pm and there is pie and Bovril at 'half time'.

To sign up call Sean Caulfield on 01475 261102.