Singing group that provides fun for people with dementia

Samantha Thomas and Rodger Kuch

Samantha Thomas, Chair of Memory Lane Music Group in St Ives, and Rodger Kuch chair of St Ives Dementia Friendly Community Group. - Credit: Archant

The Memory Lane Singing Group, in St Ives, is providing  a musical experience for people with dementia.

Samantha Thomas, chairman of the group took over from Ken Richards, whose wife had had Alzheimer's. 

He saw the struggles that carers had and the people who were suffering too with Alzheimer’s.  

He wanted to create a volunteer-based group in St Ives, where there was some music played and performed in whatever format that might be.  

Samantha said: “Ken talked to former GP George Smerdon, who was very well respected in St Ives and George got my parents involved as they were always involved in amateur dramatics and me because I am a singer.  

“There was a founder members group and we did our first session about six and a half years ago now.  

“It was a trial and error situation, but before we knew it, it took off and the promise of free tea and biscuits was a huge draw!  

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“Sadly we lost Ken to cancer and we carried on his legacy and we are still doing that very proudly so.  

“There is only George and I left as founder members now but we have all our volunteers that volunteer for us, who are either in the kitchen or out singing in front of the attendees.  

“They all do it through the kindness of their hearts and I am terribly proud of it and at some point our former St Ives mayor, Ian Jackson, found out about it, decided he wanted to come along and see and supported us then through his mayoral appointment.  

“He supported us and through this grew the Dementia Friendly Group in the town." 

During the sessions, Samantha describes how much the attendees love the sessions, especially the last song.  

Samantha said: “What is really emotional, is we always finish our sessions, with Thank You For The Music by Abba, where everybody gets up and we all stand in a big circle and I stand in the middle singing it to them.  

“It is very emotional, because we have people who visit who just end up in tears, because it is so emotional.”

If you would like to find out more about the singing group, go to: Memory Lane Facebook Music Group.