Shinty Memories group could start in Oban to help people living with dementia

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There was a three-day shinty exhibition at The Rockfield Centre last weekend which left behind more than just pin-marks in the wall.

The display featured photographs, trophies, sticks, as well as an interactive map that played videos when you scanned it.

The voice of shinty, Hugh Dan MacLennan, launched the exhibition and talked about all things shinty over the Macaulay Cup weekend.

One of the main topics he explored was the ability to help those living with dementia by triggering memories through sports memorabilia and photographs.

He has helped launch the charity Shinty Memories and encouraged The Rockfield Centre to back the project and help launch an Oban branch of the organisation.

Speaking about the project, Mr MacLennan said: ‘There can be few clubs or families who are not aware of people who have to meet the challenges of dealing with dementia.’

Throughout his talk in Oban, he spoke about, and showed videos, of the benefits of people who attend the gatherings.

One of the video clips featured a quote from a woman, whose husband attended a group in Badnoch: ‘A lady said she left a man living with dementia at the meeting and she picked up her husband.’

Other clips were more history related, such as the 1937 Camanachd Cup Final between Oban Celtic and Newtonmore, which was the first cup final to feature numbers of the players’ strips – this was to help commentators identify them.

Other topics covered how many shinty teams there have been in Oban – there have been a lot, such as the Soroba Strollers from the 1920s.

But they all serve as conversation starters and can trigger memories for those living with dementia.

Mr MacLennan added: ‘Oban is such a big part of shinty’s history. Before people start throwing stuff out, let’s gather it all and start using it.

‘I think there should be an Argyll shinty archive in The Rockfield Centre.’

Eleanor MacKinnon, The Rockfield Centre, said the organisation was very much behind the idea of kick-starting a group in Oban.

‘All of this actually sits exactly with what is planned for the building,’ she said.

‘It is the heritage of the town and shinty has always been in about it. We will form a group and we are absolutely delighted to get the additional resource of the memory box.

‘If people are interested in getting involved in the group, get in touch with me on eleanor@therockfieldcentre.co.uk.