Meeting a safe pair of hands – Stratford club welcome Coventry keeper Ben Wilson

By Andrew Raisbeck

Under the blue skies of a delightful autumnal morning, the Stratford Sporting Memories group turned sky blue with the visit of Coventry City first team goalkeeper, Ben Wilson to their meeting at Stratford Sports Club.

Ben kindly joined the group for the morning, answering questions from the enthusiastic audience and joining in their fun activities.

Ben began by talking about how he had initially got in to football. Encouraged by his Mum to play as a social activity, he was always keen to play in goal, but his coaches initially felt his speed would be wasted between the sticks. Despite the coaches advice he eventually decided his position was as a keeper and he was offered places by academies, eventually choosing Sunderland, close to his home in Stanley, County Durham.

Ben stayed at Sunderland for his formative years in the sport before making the move away from home to Cardiff City to start the ‘growing up’ process. His journey has now established him as Coventry’s first choice keeper, breaking the club record for the highest number of clean sheets in a season last year.

After discussing his career with the members, Ben joined in the weekly quiz alongside club member Alex, correctly identifying himself as the right answer to one of the questions. He even sang along to wish club favourite Barney a very happy birthday! Finally, he was put to the ultimate test, a penalty shoot-out before having photos taken with his new friends at the end of his two-hour visit.

However, this wasn’t the first time the Sporting Memories club has met a current Sky Blues player. In August, the group were lucky enough to meet fellow Coventry team-mate Ben Sheaf during a similar visit.

The group members and volunteers have spoken since of their gratitude towards the players for giving up their time. If generosity of spirit, empathy and real warmth are key to success, then these outstanding role models should have plenty to look forward to.

The Sporting Memories Stratford group holds a FREE weekly club welcoming older people from all backgrounds, but largely supports those living with dementia, other cognitive issues or living in social isolation and loneliness.

It is held weekly on Mondays (10.00am - 12.00pm) at Stratford Sports Club at Swan’s Nest. For more information, contact Anne Tubb on 01789 296629 or


We’re always on the lookout for volunteers to help run our clubs all across England, Scotland and Wales – find out more here.

Find a club

Want to know where your nearest Sporting Memories club is? View our Club Finder page here.

Our impact

Reducing Isolation

Bringing older people together to reduce isolation and loneliness

Mental Wellbeing

Supporting older people to improve their mental wellbeing

Physical Wellbeing

Getting older people active to live healthier lifestyles

Sign up to our newsletter