Wigan Warriors rugby hero visits Belong Atherton

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Brenda Walker

Residents and staff members at specialist care village, Belong Atherton, enjoyed an afternoon with Wigan Warriors rugby club star, Dom Manfredi, who took a day off from training to join their annual Christmas fayre.   

 

The Christmas fayre included 5 stalls and a Santa’s grotto and raised £700 for activities at the village.

 

The highlight of the fayre was the top raffle prize of a signed Wigan Warriors shirt, which was presented by Manfredi himself. The player spent the rest of the afternoon visiting Belong Atherton’s households and meeting fans, with whom he shared rugby stories and jokes.

 

Caleb Wright household resident, Marion Wielding, was reduced to tears of joy when she met Manfredi and said that it was a ‘dream come true.’ Everyone who met the rugby player, including 103-year-old resident Amy Hirst, commented on how down to earth and friendly he was.  

 

As well as being an enjoyable experience, sharing memories about rugby acted as a form of reminiscence therapy for residents, proven to be particularly beneficial for people living with dementia, stimulating cognitive ability as well as being therapeutic.  

 

Gemma Willetts, Experience Coordinator at Belong Atherton, said: “We all had a great time at our Christmas fayre! Dom Manfredi’s presence in the village had such a positive impact – he really engaged with everyone and spent a long time getting to know our residents.”

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