Man Utd choose 11 mascots aged over 60 for Watford clash – here’s why

Manchester United players led out a group of older fans for the first time in history on Sunday to put the spotlight on loneliness.

Eleven guests of honour aged from 61 to 87 were invited onto the pitch as part of the Cadbury's 'Donate Your Words' campaign.

The touching moment saw the guests step out in front of a crowd of 75,000 fans in a bid to inspire people to chat with an older person.

The campaign, comes following recent research, conducted by Cadbury and Age UK, which revealed that in a typical week, almost 2.6 million people aged 65 and over speak to three or fewer people they know.

They found more than 225,000 often going a week without speaking to anyone at all.

The survey found that simple, small gestures can play a part in helping to tackle loneliness as more than 6 million older people claimed a few minutes of conversation would make a huge difference to their week.

Older people said they would feel more confident when outside the home if someone smiles or says hello when at a bus stop or in a queue, or if someone asks how their day has gone.

Pauline, 71, said she felt “proud and privileged" to be chosen to join the players and added: “It is a bit like winning the lottery. Still pinching myself about it.

“If you had told me when I was six that one day I would be chosen to walk on the pitch at Old Trafford with 'my team' I would have thought that was a dream, or even a fantasy. In the 1950s fans never went on the pitch with the team as mascots.”

Another fan taking part was Carol, 65, from Manchester who lost her confidence after being diagnosed with MCI, minor cognitive impairment and was unable to leave the house without holding her husband’s hand.

She started attending Age UK Trafford’s MCI group just less than a year ago and says the group makes her feel alive again.

Mayor, Andy Burnham says,“This is a fantastic campaign and partnership between Cadbury and Manchester United ,shining a light on a very real problem in Greater Manchester and beyond.

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