A NEW set of reminiscence cards to help horseracing enthusiasts suffering from dementia, depression or loneliness has been launched at Musselburgh Racecourse.

On-hand to support the initiative last week was eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore MBE and local MP Martin Whitfield.

Mr Scudamore joined local Sporting Memories groups, volunteers and other local racing representatives to talk about his time as a jockey and trainer and share his memories and stories. He also took part in a question-and-answer session involving group members.

The launch at Musselburgh, Scotland’s second biggest racecourse, was held by Sporting Memories in partnership with Racing Welfare Scotland and Racing Together. It ran simultaneously with another launch event at Palace House, The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, at Newmarket.

The sporting aid memory cards feature the great and the good of horseracing throughout history and were compiled with the assistance of Racing Welfare’s Malton-based welfare team to support older people living with dementia, depression and loneliness. The cards have an image of a sporting legend on the front and some information about their achievements on the back.

Sporting Memories produces a number of resources and materials to inspire and promote reminiscence, which are then available for third-party organisations to buy to utilise at their own events.

Chris Wilkins, co-founder and director of Sporting Memories Network, said: “The Sporting Memories Foundation in England and Scotland uses sports reminiscence to engage isolated older people living with conditions such as dementia, loneliness and depression.

“Our club members, who meet on a weekly basis in locations across the UK, are brought together through a shared love of sport, and enjoy using our replay reminiscence cards that help trigger memories and conversation.

“We have already produced a range of replay cards which reflect a wide selection of sports, and we are now delighted to launch our latest set on racing, which will help to trigger memories of watching or participating in horseracing.

“Themes for the cards were suggested by members of our Racing Welfare Sporting Memories Club at Malton and reflect some of the great jockeys, horses and courses that together represent some of the best and most enduring memories of racing.

“Images can be very powerful in helping prompt memories and stories which, particularly for people living with dementia, can otherwise remain locked away and untold. Our aim is to unlock those stories and together celebrate some wonderful racing memories.

“We couldn’t deliver our work without the support of volunteers and we are always looking for other sports fans who might be interested in supporting the fun and fulfilling activities that take place in our weekly clubs. Information about our clubs and volunteering opportunities can be found at our website thesmf.co.uk”

MP Mr Whitfield said: “I was delighted to attend the launch of the Sporting Memories Foundation’s new racing replay cards in Musselburgh.

“These cards are another great resource from Sporting Memories, which has an extensive range of sporting memory aids. Listening to Peter’s stories and the memories they evoked in others made it clear what a valuable tool they can be for those living with dementia.

“I commend Sporting Memories and Racing Welfare on this welcome initiative and their other activity supporting older and vulnerable people.”