‘ In 1980 prior to going into detox , when I lay in a snow drift in Yorkshire simply wishing for it all to end ... I remember clearly to this day into my head came a powerful light with a question attached to it : What happened to the person who won his school colours ?’ football , for our service users . So a circle had been completed – I was now giving back because of something I had experienced for myself . Seeing it work for others was what inspired me to continue to deliver sports activities to my service users throughout my working life .
And as part of the other healing circle , three years ago I met an amazing individual Dr Sharon McDonnell giving a presentation around the issue of bereavement . She now runs Suicide Bereavement UK based at Manchester University , and asked me to take part in their study on the effect of suicide on children , which is due for publication soon . Attending the Suicide Bereavement UK conference in 2019 was an incredible and moving experience for me – there are so many wonderful projects out there . One basic message from the day was ‘ just let someone know you care ’. This resounded massively with me . For the last two years I have been running a community sports session at the Lytham YMCA , which has attracted ages from 35 to 83 . Everyone attending has loved the variety of activities on offer , and I ’ ve witnessed people taking up something new and developing their skills . Now that we are ( hopefully ) coming out of the worst of COVID , there is going to be an even greater call for activity community groups , and improving mental health is also going to fall within this remit .
I was so pleased in my latter days with Change Grow Live that I saw them recognise the importance of offering all kinds of outside interventions including sport with the Community Sports Initiative ( CSI ), and the massive move forward in seeing trauma as a major cause of ‘ meltdown ’ in many people ’ s lives leading to alcohol or drug misuse .
In ‘ retirement ’ I ’ m going to continue with my sports groups and have other project ideas on the go . And finally , quoting from one of my favourite bands , the mighty Black Sabbath : ‘ Is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end ? We will see .
If anyone out there would like to contact me please email : Bruce . C2 @ sky . com
To contact Sharon McDonnell : www . suicidebereavementuk . com
BEST JOB For not only my introduction to working with probation clients but also helping me to achieve so many things in my own life : The WYSCA 1993-96 Team . From left to right : John Wheeler ( Manager ), Paul Kendall ( sports leader ), Marion Oldham ( secretary ), ( the late ) Mark Milner , Adrian Tolan and Chris Bruce ( sports leaders )
PROUDEST MOMENT The then ex prime minister John Major presenting me with my Winston Churcill Fellowship medallion at the Guildhall , Westminster in 1999 . He said the ‘ normal ’ congratulations text to me , then I asked him if he thought Michael Owen would start for England .
MOST BIZARRE MOMENT Wimbledon 2015 – My brush with fame ! Daily Mirror picture of me sat with a certain David Beckham and son ( he sat down with me by the way !). Seeing all the cameras focused on him as he sat down was something I shall always remember . Now I know what fame feels like ! I was asking whether his son played tennis .
WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM MAY 2021 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 9