Laurie joins Sports Wall of Fame
Old Crosbeian Laurie Sephton has been added to our Sports Wall of Fame after he was selected for the England Walking Football Squad.
Laurie, 47, was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease when he was aged 38. In recent years, he has played as a defender at Northern Lights PD FC, based in Bootle, helping them to win the first Sport Parkinson’s Try-Athlon in 2021. He also organised and played in a special England v Wales walking football match which has hosted at our Ian Robinson Sports Centre.
Laurie said: “I was delighted to make the England squad and it is a brilliant initiative. I was skipping around the office like a kid when I heard the news. I’ve already been to Singapore where we won an invitational tournament and future plans are being drawn up across the globe where we can make a positive impact on the local Parkinson’s population.
“Parkinson’s is an extremely frustrating condition but when I start playing football it takes me straight back to being a lad. As soon as I step out on the pitch it is like my brain forgets I have the disease. I instantly stop shaking and stumbling when I play football. What’s incredible is that I turn into a footballer – I turn into Laurie – again.
“Other players with Parkinson’s arrive at a game in their wheelchairs or walking with the help of a stick and, just like me, they are transformed too. I don’t know whether it’s your brain overriding the disease or some sort of muscle memory kicking in, but it is an amazing feeling.”
The national governing body, the Walking Football Association (WFA), was launched in December 2016 and helps people with physical or mental impairments to take part in sport. The game is a 6-a-side format, below head height with no running or contact. Walking Football for Parkinson’s is a recent add on.
Laurie, a financial controller at Princes Group, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after he began getting tremors in his hands. He said: “I had worked in many areas for Princes in Mauritius and Liverpool and had a young family and big plans for the future. Parkinson’s had other ideas. My symptoms got to the point where I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do before. In many meetings I had to sit on my left hand or trap it painfully under the desk to combat tremors.
“Princes has been great and have made adjustments so I can continue doing my job. Work is so important to me as it gives me a sense of worth and I feel like I can be open with my struggles and everyone is so supportive and flexible.”
Laurie has been a football fan since he was a young boy. His father, George Sephton, has been the match announcer at Anfield for Liverpool Football Club for more than 50 years and his grandfather trialled for the club in the 1920s.
We are very proud of Laurie’s achievements and we are thrilled to see his shirt added to the wall.
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