A LOCAL athlete is encouraging people in Helensburgh to keep their spirits up during the coronavirus lockdown by sharing their sporting memories.

Maurice Donohue is calling for people to engage by whatever means they can with family and friends of all ages to spark lively conversations about sport.

As chief operating officer of the Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland, Maurice, who is based in nearby Dumbarton, is involved a new campaign to demonstrate the health, wellbeing and social benefits of talking about sport.

He said: “We all know someone who loves to talk about sport. It’s a powerful, emotive and often joyous topic that engages people on all levels.

“We use sport to tackle social isolation and improve physical and cognitive well-being and resilience.

“Now that so many of us are isolated from our loved ones and friends, we want to encourage as many people as possible to talk about sport.”

Maurice, who raised around £4,000 for the foundation and the charity Race Against Dementia by running 10k every day for a year, says the area has a rich sporting legacy which is a great source of conversation starters.

Two of his local heroes are Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart, from Milton, and Commonwealth Games 10,000 metres gold medal winner Lachie Stewart, from Bonhill.

For the campaign – called #TalkAboutSport – the organisation is developing resources and activities that can be used at home, online or over the telephone, including quizzes, puzzles and a weekly sports publication.

Sporting Memories is also encouraging people to sign up on its website to a new digital version of the Sporting Pink – a weekly publication produced by the organisation.

Usually only available to its clubs, the foundation hopes that by making it more widely available, families and friends will use it with older people to spark sporting conversations.

Chris Wilkins, Sporting Memories co-founder, said “Of course there are challenges.

"Many of those we work with have limited options to access activities online. This is where we hope a wider #TalkAboutSport message can help.”