Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville opens extension at Townfield Care Home in the Ribble Valley

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Former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville has opened a new extension at a Ribble Valley care home.

Dementia specialists Townfield Care Home in Sawley welcomed the Sky Sports pundit to officially open the £2m. extension. The property has been specially designed to help people with the condition to live safely and comfortably.

Gary said: “This is an absolutely lovely property and I'm really pleased that Townfield Care can offer specialist help to former footballers. I know the work that Michael and John and the family have put into this, and the team, over a couple of years. It's been a labour of love. It's taken a lot of hard work to get this care home into the condition it currently is and the passion that they have for delivering the services.

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“I'm an ex football player, and I think over the last 10 years, football players have become very aware of the risk of dementia and the way in which dementia has affected so many who played the game. It is heartening to know that there are good facilities and good care available for people.

Gary Neville opened the extension at Townfield Care Home, SawleyGary Neville opened the extension at Townfield Care Home, Sawley
Gary Neville opened the extension at Townfield Care Home, Sawley

Football is a community like anything else, and I was part of the PFA for many, many years and looking at the aftercare programmes. This is a critical facility in delivering services that is much needed, not just to football players, but to people in the northwest of England.

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“Well done to Michael, well done to John, well done to all the team here who deliver the services. They're doing a great job. It's the first time I've been and I'm blown away by the standards that I've seen inside.”

The Ribble Valley care home is proud to take care of more than one ex footballer, and have a dedicated activities team for improving mental wellbeing. Other elements to assist in dementia care include colour coding of bedrooms throughout all aspects of their décor, and directional signs being pictoral as well as in writing.

Studies have found that professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to develop dementia and other serious neurological diseases.