Newcastle United legend and club staff help combat loneliness with this classy gesture

Club legend Bob Moncur and an ‘army’ of Newcastle United staff are helping combat loneliness during the coronavirus crisis – by telephoning pensioners and vulnerable supporters in self-isolation.

Club ambassador Moncur and staff, who are all at home themselves, are calling around 1,900 season ticket holders aged 70 and above, as well as other vulnerable groups, to chat about football and combat loneliness.

The phone calls are an extension of the club's existing Memory Café, which usually meets monthly at St. James's Park.

Moncur said: "It's very important for people to keep people in touch and this is a great way to check that supporters are keeping safe and happy.

Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley.

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"The Memory Café has enabled us all to reminisce over our stories and I'm pleased it will continue over the phone. Anything we can do to help is important.

"I'm not sure young supporters will remember most of my stories anyway, but older fans usually do and they have their own perspective from the stands.

“I was on the pitch so there are things I wouldn't have noticed or experienced, but they teach me things from their years of following the club and some have been significant moments in their lives. It keeps us all younger!".

Lee Charnley, Newcastle United's managing director, added: "The coronavirus outbreak has a profound effect on everyone but it is being felt particularly sharply by the most vulnerable people in our community, including the elderly.

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"We have seen just how much of a positive impact the Memory Café has had on some of our older supporters over the last year, and the phone calls allow us to continue to reach them and to alleviate isolation and loneliness at a time when it is needed most.

"I am immensely proud of how our staff have responded and we will continue to look at how we can expand the scheme to reach as many of our older supporters as possible."

As well as receiving phone calls, Memory Café participants have also received special Memory Bundle packs from the club which include a quiz, photographs and memorabilia plus guidance on tackling Covid-19 and a card from the club offering its continued support.