Saturday, March 8, 2014
On a massive day for Norwich City Football Club, a rallying call has been issued for fans to honour one of the club’s true legends – by raising a spectacular sum for Alzheimer’s Research.
Defender Duncan Forbes spent 33 years at Carrow Road as player and staff member, including a seven-year stint as captain, but is now battling the effects of Alzheimer’s.
Today’s clash with Stoke City at Carrow Road – dubbed ‘Duncan’s Day’ – will be dedicated to raising funds for Mr Forbes’ family and the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Chris Hughton’s men will wear special ‘Forbes 5’ t-shirts in their warm-up, which will later be auctioned, and all profits from the commemorative programme will go towards funding Mr Forbes’ day-to-day care.
His wife Janette will be a guest of honour at the match with her sons Elliott and Scott, though she said Mr Forbes would not be well enough to return to the stadium he called his own between 1968 and 1981.
“I know it’s going to be emotional – but I’m hoping that it can help to raise awareness.
“There’s always a certain stigma attached to mental illness, Alzheimer’s included. We hope that we can bring it out into the public and maybe that will help other people who are suffering to reach out to a relative or someone who can help,” she said.
“It’s a shame that he’s not well enough to attend, but it would be too much for him. It will be so nice for us to see what the fans thought of Duncan, however.”
Mrs Forbes, 69, said the family had been overwhelmed at the reaction from fans after she spoke openly about her husband’s illness in October last year, three months after taking the decision to put him into a Norwich care home.
“If Duncan was there it would really bring home to them how bad he is,” she said.
“When I walk into the home, there are some days when he remembers me and others when he doesn’t. He doesn’t really know that he ever played football.”
Money from a special-edition match programme will go towards future care for Mr Forbes, as his family do not know how long he will require the specialist support, and fans can contribute to charity collections.
Norwich City chief executive David McNally said: “Duncan Forbes was a fantastic servant to this football club, on and off the pitch, for more than three decades.
“Everybody at the club is really sad to hear of his current brave battle against Alzheimer’s and on Saturday we hope to raise as much money as possible to help Duncan’s family with his day-to-day care.
“It’s going to be an emotional day for everyone connected with the club. Thank you to all our supporters for any help they can give for this worthiest of causes.”