Saturday’s FA cup tie against Lincoln City at Turf Moor is set to become an even bigger occasion, as Burnley FC in the Community will be celebrating its inclusive club ethos and replacing child mascots with some of the club’s oldest fans.
This will be the first time a professional English football club has invited the older generation to walk out with the first-team players in such a match.
In January, Atletico Madrid invited a group of their most elderly season-ticket holders to accompany the team onto the pitch, while in 2016, Swedish club AIK paid tribute to its elderly fans with the same gesture when they played a league match against Gefle IF.
The Burnley mascots, ranging from the age of 69 to 85, are all long-term supporters of the Clarets and excited at the prospect of walking the team out to what is set to be a near full house at Turf Moor for the televised fifth round tie.
Neil Hart, Burnley FC in the Community Chief Executive Officer said: “At Burnley FC in the Community we are committed to working with a diverse range of people to achieve our mission of inspiring, supporting and delivering change to communities.
"We pride ourselves on being an inclusive club and thought what better opportunity to celebrate Burnley FC’s oldest fans than by getting them involved in such an exciting occasion.
"We wanted to make the gesture to give back to the lifetime of support they have given to the club and we hope that everyone will join us in giving them a big cheer on Saturday!”
Burnley FC in the Community deliver a wide range of provision for senior citizens, including our Extra Time programme with weekly sessions taking place at Turf Moor.
"Extra Time aims to reduce social isolation and loneliness and increase participation in physical activity amongst the elderly. Weekly activities include board games, indoor carpet bowls, chair aerobics and physical activity sessions.
"The sessions have been well received with attendees giving positive feedback on the impact it has had on their lives. Over 70% of individuals said they have become more physically active and 83% said they have made new friends since joining the programme.
The club’s official charity also works in partnership with a number of health and wellbeing organisations, including Age UK, Lancashire Care and the British Heart Foundation to offer support and guidance on various social and health related issues prone to the older generation.
This work further supports the charity’s mission of transforming people’s lives for the better.
To find out more information about our health and wellbeing offer contact Abby Turner on 01282 704716 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Burnley FC in the Community’s work visit www.burnleyfccommunity.org or call 01282 704716.