Ex-Middlesbrough and Leeds strike Alan Peacock cuts ribbon at Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk

Alan Peacock.Alan Peacock.
Alan Peacock.
He’s a Middlesbrough boy who played for his home town club and formed a strike force with Brian Clough, went on to be in Don Revie’s Leeds United and even earned six caps for England.

That’s the stuff dreams are made of for many a youngster.

Now, Alan Peacock says he’s determined to remain positive after being diagnosed with dementia and will help raise awareness of the condition.

Last Saturday, he cut the ribbon at Alzheimer’s Society’s Leeds Memory Walk, when people gathered for the charity’s flagship event on the Temple Newsam Estate, walking in memory of, or to pay tribute to, a loved one with dementia.

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Alan Peacock during his footballing heyday.Alan Peacock during his footballing heyday.
Alan Peacock during his footballing heyday.

Alan, 84, who lives in a small village on the outskirts of North Yorkshire, says: “Being open about having dementia seems to be the right thing to do. I still don’t really understand what it is, but I’ve been told I have it, so I just have to get on with it.

“Dementia certainly wasn’t something I was aware of when I played football. It’s just something that has gradually started to get on top of me. I’m dealing with it as best I can and trying to carry on as normal.

“Fortunately, I have people around me who know more about dementia than I do, such as my daughter Diane, so that’s a great comfort.”

The former England international scored 141 goals in 238 games for hometown club Middlesbrough between 1954 and 1964. He moved to Leeds United in 1964, helping Don Revie’s team secure promotion, scoring eight goals in 14 games. He stayed at the club for a further three seasons, scoring 30 goals in 65 games.

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Former Middlesbrough, Leeds United and England footballer, Alan Peacock starting the Leeds Memory Walk.Former Middlesbrough, Leeds United and England footballer, Alan Peacock starting the Leeds Memory Walk.
Former Middlesbrough, Leeds United and England footballer, Alan Peacock starting the Leeds Memory Walk.

He won six caps for his country and, had he not sustained a serious knee injury during the 65/66 season, could have featured in Sir Alf Ramsey’s World Cup winning team.

Alan first went public about his dementia diagnosis in August last year.

In a statement he said: “My family and I are hoping that, by publicly acknowledging my illness, it will raise awareness and encourage further research and support for everyone affected by this terrible, progressive disease.”

As well as raising awareness of Alzheimer’s Society’s work, Alan has been supporting Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation’s work in the community, with the help of its fundraising and events coordinator, Alan Geddes.

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He says: “When we found out about Alan’s diagnosis, we wanted to do something to help people with dementia, so we approached him and Diane to ask if they wanted to work with us.

“It began with Alan attending some tea dances we set up, but we have now also started to visit care homes specialising in dementia care as part of our ‘Memorabilia Memory Box Tour’.

“Alan turns up in his Middlesbrough suit with a box of memorabilia such as photos and programmes and the reaction he gets is incredible.

“It’s great for him as he gets to be Alan Peacock the footballer again, but also for the care home residents as it provides them with some really valuable social interaction.”

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Memory Walk events have been a regular fixture in the Autumn calendar for over 10 years, seeing half a million walkers raise over £41 million for Alzheimer’s Society.

An upcoming event people can take part in is the Yorkshire Marathon, which takes place in York on Sunday October 16.

Participants will take in scenic country lanes and historic landmarks during the incredible 26.2 mile challenge.

Michael White, Area Manager for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It has never been more important to support Alzheimer’s Society’s crucial work. Too many people across Yorkshire and Humber are facing dementia alone without adequate support. We urgently need to find a cure, improve care and offer help and understanding for people affected.

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“We are in awe of our amazing fundraisers who go above and beyond to raise vital funds and awareness for the estimated 76,130 people living with dementia in Yorkshire and Humber. And we’re hugely grateful to Alan Peacock for agreeing to get the event officially underway. It’s truly an honour to have him involved. Every step our fundraisers take will to help us provide a lifeline of support for as many people affected by dementia as possible.”

Visit www.alzheimers.org.uk to find out more about taking part in Alzheimer’s Society’s organised events this autumn.