Jim Leighton MBE pledges his support of our Sue Ryder Dee View Court Capital Appeal

Legendary Aberdeen and Scotland goalkeeper Jim Leighton MBE is supporting our fundraising appeal to extend Sue Ryder Dee View Court, Scotland’s only purpose-built specialist neurological care centre. 

Footballer Jim Leighton MBE meets Dee View resident
Jim Leighton meeting Dee View residents and staff.
Footballer Jim Leighton MBE meets Dee View resident and Sue Ryder Nurse

To help make the extension possible, Leighton will be hosting a Gothenburg Greats Football Dinner on Thursday 27th June in Aberdeen alongside fellow Gothenburg legends John Hewitt and Neil Simpson.

Last week, The Times met with the football legend to talk about his decision to support our neurological care centre.

Here’s an extract from the article in The Times:

The Sue Ryder Dee View Court facility in the south of Aberdeen is on a major fundraising drive to expand and at a business breakfast one morning Leighton was asked to get involved.

“It’s an unbelievable place when you go in. I’m used to going into nursing homes because my dad was in one until he died last year. I’ve had my uncle in one too. You go into nursing homes and people are so much older than you. There can be sad cases, perhaps with dementia. But you walk in this place and there are folk in their twenties.”

It’s an incredible place. You’re in tears virtually every time you walk in and walk out

One resident he found especially inspiring was cycling to work one morning when a car appeared over a hill and, the driver affected by low winter sun in his eyes, ploughed into him. He was left paralysed and brain damaged at pretty much the same age Leighton was when he played in the European Cup-Winners’ Cup final in Gothenburg.

Family and friends visit Dee View Court and now so does a football legend. Many of the 26 residents recognise him. 

“Any time you go in you never see anybody without a smile, whether they’re a resident or one of the staff. The last time I was in there one of the residents had the Aberdeen bedspread, an Aberdeen top on, everything Aberdeen in her room. Another guy has an Aberdeen top on. Most of them know what they’re about but they’ve had certain different things that have happened to them. It’s an incredible place. You’re in tears virtually every time you walk in and walk out.

“You think you’ve got a problem when you go in, or you’ve got ten problems, and as soon as you walk in the door you think, ‘Nah, I don’t really’. It’s not people that’s older than me, it’s people half my age who have more than half their lives to live. That’s going to be their home, more or less, for the rest of their days."

£3.9m fundraising drive

The facility provides specialist residential care for 26 residents but a £3.9 million fundraising drive is under way for an expansion to accommodate 20 more. 

On Thursday, Leighton will host a Gothenburg-themed dinner with Neil Simpson and John Hewitt including a question-and-answer session and an auction. He is prepared to do more. 

“I wouldn’t want to just stop. If they want me to get involved in more things in the future I would be more than happy because it’s so rewarding. If they can get this extra money they need for this extension they can help more people.

"They have a massive waiting list. As soon as the last lick of paint is done there will be 20 new people straight in.”

Support our Dee View Court Capital Appeal

We have reproduced extracts from a piece that was originally published in The Times. Read the original article in full.