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  1. ITV Report

1966 World Cup heroes back dementia campaign in name of teammates

Gordon Banks and Geoff Hurst Photo: ITV News

Two of England's world cup heroes are backing the fight against dementia in tribute to their teammates who are living with it.

Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks have spoken out about their sadness at the effect dementia has had on three of their former 1966 team mates.

Sir Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks recalled the "wonderful" memories they share with their fellow world cup victors.

But the sporting stars, who are part of the United Against Dementia campaign launched by the Alzheimer's Society, described a stark contrast today for their teammates former Norwich City player Martin Peters, as well as Nobby Styles and Ray Wilson who now live with the condition.

The three teammates who are living with dementia

Banks, now 79 and himself battling cancer, told the Press Association: "We had such wonderful moments with these lads that have got dementia.

"And to think of them now, like they are now, they can't even remember us and it's just so sad now, it really is."

Sir Geoff had enjoyed an annual golfing trip with Peters and their wives since the 1980s, but last year he said it was "difficult" to see how his long-time friend's health had gone downhill.

Sir Geoff, 75, said: "By that stage of course he had been deteriorating so it was quite difficult to see one of your teammates, close up."

Seeing the impact on someone he had known since his teenage years motivated him to take part in the campaign, he added.

"It's such an important charitable cause and the key thing for me is to make people aware, to get people to unite, to unite against dementia."

– Sir Geoff Hurst
Martin Peters during his time at Carrow Road Credit: PA Images

Sir Geoff, who guaranteed his place in football history by scoring the decisive goals in England's 4-2 final win over West Germany, said it is a particularly tragic illness.

He said: "I think it's a huge difference between a physical illness as Banksy is describing and with dementia.

"You know with a physical illness you've got a chance of recovering and Banksy is improving as he's said.

"But with dementia you know that it's only going to go one way.

"It's not going to get any better, it's only going to deteriorate."

The three World Cup stars aren't the only former players to be affected by the disease.

Last year former Colchester United and Ipswich Town player Bobby Hunt spoke about having the illness. The 74-year-old played in the 1960s when footballs were harder and heavier than those used in the modern game.

Norwich City centre back Duncan Forbes was also diagnosed with the disease.

And former Cambridge and Peterborough boss Chris Turner also died from the disease.