Saints legends support Eccleston Court!
St Helens rugby league legends Paul Sculthorpe and Eddie Cunningham officially opened a St Helens RFC reminiscence area in Eccleston Court, a specialist dementia care home, on Friday. This visit was part of National Care Home Open Day, a national campaign to encourage the community to interact with and support care homes.
Eccleston Court is part of the national social care charity Community Integrated Care and based next to Eccleston Park. The two Saints stars officially opened a local rugby area in the home, which contains nostalgic photographs and memorabilia that promote the treasured memories of St Helens fans living there. This area applies leading dementia design approaches that have been pioneered by Community Integrated Care. The charity was supported to develop this area by Saints Heritage Society, who generously donated historic photographs to the home from their archives.
The rugby legends meet with colleagues, people supported by the charity and their families. They had great conversations with Saints fans in the home – with one resident poignantly recognising Paul, and talking with him about his glory days at the club.
The two former players also generously donated objects to the care home’s reminiscence areas. Paul gave a signed painting of Knowsley Road, which had been signed by the first team players of the final game at the famous stadium and the club’s chairman, Eamonn MacManus, on behalf of St Helens RFC, as well as a signed ball from the current squad. Eddie donated to the home a set of historic photographs of St Helens, for the home to create a memory book for residents.
Paul Sculthorpe played 247 games for St Helens, during an acclaimed career that saw him also represent Great Britain. He won a total of four Grand Finals, three Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges, and is the only player to win the Man of Steel Award on two consecutive occasions.
Eddie Cunningham had a highly successful rugby league career from 1969-1985, playing for Saint Helens, as well as Wigan, Leeds and Widnes. He represented Wales and Great Britain, won the Challenge Cup and collected the famous Lance Todd for his Man of the Match performance in the 1981 Challenge Cup.
John Hughes, Head of Communications and Marketing for Community Integrated Care, says: “We were delighted that Paul and Eddie, two true St Helens rugby league legends, visited Eccleston Court on Friday to officially open this reminiscence area and celebrate National Care Home Open Day with us. Many people we support have treasured memories of watching Saints, and this nostalgic space helps bring them to life. Paul and Eddie’s visit gave a great boost to our colleagues and put big smiles on the faces of people we support – we are very grateful for their time and efforts.”
Paul Sculthorpe said, “I was delighted to be at Eccleston Court with Eddie to launch the St Helens RFC area for residents, which will stimulate some great memories of the club. I enjoyed speaking to the residents, and had a great experience with one in particular who remembered me and loved St Helens – we talked about Saints and his favourite times. It was a priceless experience.”
Eddie Cunningham says: “It was an honour to be invited to open this Saints area, which looks fabulous. People have vibrant memories of watching rugby league, and if I can make someone happy by talking with them about the game or looking at old photographs with them, then that is a great thing to be able to do. It was a pleasure to meet the team at Eccleston Court and the people they support.”