Nobby Stiles' footballer son joins Doncaster dementia charity after dad's death

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The son of 1966 England World Cup hero Nobby Stiles has joined a Doncaster dementia charity to raise awareness following the death of his father from the condition.

John Stiles, who played for Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United during his career, has become an ambassador for DonMentia, the organisation which helps people in the town with degenerative brain conditions.

His dad Nobby, famous for dancing around the Wembley pitch after winning the Jules Rimet trophy with England more than five decades ago, died in October 2020 at the age of 78 after a battle with the disease.

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And John has now become a vocal campaigner to raise awareness of the condition and to help put in place protection and care for former footballers suffering from dementia, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Joe Kinnear and Gordon McQueen who are all suffering from the disease.

John Stiles has become a vocal dementia campaigner following his dad Nobby's death.John Stiles has become a vocal dementia campaigner following his dad Nobby's death.
John Stiles has become a vocal dementia campaigner following his dad Nobby's death.

He said: “It is an honour and privilege it is to be DonMentia’s ambassador.

“You may ask why a former footballer would be involved with a local dementia charity?

"Well there are a number of reasons, all very personal to me. My family and I witnessed first hand the impact dementia had on not just my dad but my mum and family as a whole.

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"If I can use that experience to help anyone going through a similar experience it would be a pleasure to do so.

“Secondly, I am very active, with many other footballers, in making governments and football associations aware of the link between heading the ball and early onset dementia and dementia in later life.

"I am very passionate about this issue and continue to lobby not just for change but for help for ex-footballers affected by dementia.

"After seeing how the care system worked as my dad deteriorated, my family and I are also campaigning for dementia to be treated like other diseases. Like heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease, dementia should be seen as a health need and not a social care need.

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“It would be great if I can help in any way the citizens of Doncaster who are affected by dementia and we can improve their life experience in any way.”

His former Manchester United midfielder dad was a key part of the Three Lions’ 1966 triumph on home soil at Wembley more than 50 years ago.

John, now 56, played for Doncaster Rovers between 1989 and 1992, making 89 appearances and scoring two goals.

A nephew of football legend Johnny Giles, he also played for Leeds United.

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His appointment comes as the organisation launched its new Doncaster Dementia Collaborative at the town’s new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum.

The collaborative will see community and voluntary partners working together to capture the voice of people effected by dementia living in Doncaster and to influence change to make their experience of living with dementia a better one.

The event, attended by Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, included hearing the experiences of Wendy Sharps a lady diagnosed with dementia and John Hardwick who cares for his wife diagnosed with dementia.

She said: “This was a very informative and moving launch, especially hearing from Wendy and John. It is a great initiative and will help shape future services at local level and, I hope, national policy.”