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Songs of Praise for People Impacted by Dementia at Lichfield Cathedral

On 23 April Lichfield Cathedral hosted a Songs of Praise for people impacted by dementia with special guests Tony Christie and Lichfield Cathedral Choristers.

Lichfield Cathedral has been hosting regular dementia-friendly services and is part of the Dementia-Friendly Churches and Schools network. Canon Treasurer at Lichfield Cathedral, David Primrose said:

“Worshipping with people impacted by dementia is always an inspirational experience. Today, even more so as the power of music gave us a deep sense of unity. It was wonderful seeing over 400 adults and children come together from churches, care homes, schools and the wider community across our diocese.”

The informal service partnered with Music for Dementia. Music for Dementia’s MD Sarah Metcalfe says

“Lichfield Cathedral’s Songs of Praise service for people impacted by dementia was a wonderful event, and I’m delighted to have been invited to be part of it. This special service was a celebration of the wonderful work that Lichfield diocese does within their community, and it was fantastic to see so many people of all ages attend.

“Singing hymns is a great example of how people living with dementia can benefit from the power of music to ease their symptoms of anxiety or distress. We all have a soundtrack to our lives and for many of us we will remember hymns from schooldays or if we were a girl guide or scout. Just singing a familiar tune at home, like a favourite hymn, can be very calming and comforting for someone with dementia. Music can be enough to turn a difficult moment around and get you through the day. We urge carers just to give it a go.”

Special guest, Tony Christie who himself was diagnosed with dementia, opened the service with “Is This The Way To Amarillo” and closed with the song “Thank you for being a Friend”. Tony Christie says:

“It was a real honour to perform in Lichfield Cathedral for their dementia friendly service. I’m a local resident and my grandchildren were choristers at the Cathedral when they were younger, so it holds a special place in my heart.

“The service was fantastic. It was great to see so many people attend. It was a joy to sing two songs as part of it. Amarillo is a crowd favourite, and I always end my gigs these days singing Thanks You For Being A Friend, which is a song I recorded last year as a charity single for Music for Dementia, who I work alongside as an ambassador.”

The service was recorded for BBC Songs of Praise and is scheduled for broadcast on 12 May at the start of Dementia Action Week.

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