April 13, 2024

Peter Marchi’s family has been mourning the loss of their joyful and athletic father, who had a series of small strokes. Now the former Coventry City reserve player has found a’sense of purpose’
A sports project aimed at combating isolation and loneliness among the elderly by reminiscing about Coventry through the lens of sport has provided a’sense of purpose’ to one former Coventry City Reserve player with dementia, according to his family. Peter Marchi was always an excellent athlete.

He played with Coventry School Boys as a youth before moving on to play high-level football, including a period with the Sky Blues. He later gained a reputation as a superb inside left, becoming one of the best players in Coventry’s thriving amateur football scene.

Later, he stayed strong and active with tennis, badminton, and table tennis, which he continued to do until a series of mini-strokes in 2022 resulted in Peter’s need for full-time care following a diagnosis of vascular dementia. His bereaved family has been mourning the loss of their fun-loving and athletic father and grandfather ever since.

Lindsay, her daughter, remarked, “It’s heartbreaking to see someone slowly die from this disease. My mother died of cancer; she had been ill for a year but was psychologically stable. It’s awful to see dad like this; he’s physically present but rarely psychologically.

Lindsay and her family were unfamiliar with dealing with care facilities, social workers, and determining what was best for Peter, so they were overjoyed when they discovered the perfect place. Since moving to Avalon Court, the family has found a house they enjoy.

Despite having more bad days than good, the family has discovered a monthly event that Lindsay claims gives them all a’sense of purpose’. Sporting Memories, part of CV Life and the council’s Coventry Moves project, aims to combat isolation and loneliness among the elderly by reminiscing about the city through the lens of sport in a dementia-friendly manner.

Popular Coventry footballer finally has hope two years after dementia  diagnosis - CoventryLive


The seminars, hosted by city athletics veteran Dave Moorcroft, drew hundreds of individuals, including some really historic Coventry sporting icons. Steve Ogrizovic and Dave Bennett, FA Cup winners, attended, as did Dave Busst, Dennis Mortimor, and Andy Blair.

Hamilton Bland answered questions from Dave Moorcroft about swimming, while journalist icons Adam Dent, Stuart Linnell, Rob Gurney, and Clive Eakin discussed their experiences covering the city’s sports scene.

Lindsay discussed the activities, saying, “We thought we’d lost Dad when he was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, but when he goes to Sporting Memories, it’s like we get a piece of him back.” When he’s there, he follows along with the stories, nods his head in recognition, and laughs at the jokes. It is lovely to behold.

“Not only has it given us and him a sense of purpose, but we’re also making new memories, which is something I never expected to say after he was diagnosed.” We thought we had missed out on the opportunity. That is enormous for us.

“When he’s there, everyone is so friendly, there are people who recognise Dad who played with him or against him during his football days – it makes it feel like a big family.”

Peter is joined at the activities by his brother Will and son Neil. “We all look forward to attending Sporting Memories and seeing the benefits it has on our dad and my Uncle Will,” said Neil. “Sports have always been an important part of our family.

“Even now, I take Dad to Over 60s table tennis, and sport is so engrained in his being, his DNA, that he can still hit the ball and keep a rally going. So going to Sporting Memories and taking part is ideal for our situation.”

Lindsay said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to accompany Dad to Sporting Memories. It is something we all look forward to.

“We count those days as victories. When someone you care about has this terrible sickness, there isn’t much hope or positivity, but Sporting Memories has been a glimmer of hope at the end of a very dark tunnel.”











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