Heartfelt song to promote Purple Angels Dementia Awareness

Musical staff from a care organisation have recorded a heartfelt song to promote a dementia awareness campaign.

The talented trio of Tracey Green, Chris Hodge, and Anita Moran from Pendine Park recorded the acoustic tune ‘Purple Angel’ at Vic Studios, Wrexham.

They’re aiming to sell the song on iTunes to raise money for the campaign.

Tracey, Enrichment Project Leader at Pendine Park in Wrexham, created the song with the poetry of Norman McNamara from Torquay who was diagnosed with dementia in 2008 at the age of 50.

He started the Purple Angels campaign, the aim of which is to raise awareness with  shops, businesses, and organisations by providing them with a simple training manual so they‘re better equipped to recognise the symptoms of dementia and respond accordingly.

Businesses that sign up to the scheme will then display posters and stickers with the Purple Angel logo to signify that they are dementia aware.

They plan to make Wrexham the first dementia-friendly town in Wales, with the ultimate aim of making Wales the first dementia-friendly country in the world.

The crusade has been backed to the hilt by Pendine Park proprietor, Mario Kreft MBE, and has already spread to more than shops in the Wrexham area.

It has even been backed by North Wales educational powerhouses Coleg Cambria and Glyndwr University.

The original idea for the song came from Ann Farr, the Manager of Smartcare, Pendine Park’s in-house training company.

Tracey, 31, said: “It’s making people aware of dementia using Norman’s words – that’s the key thing. It’s his story and we’ve just borrowed his words and put the music to it.

“Norman is a really inspiring poet. He’s written tons of poems and posted them on his website. Anita pointed me to them and said you’ve got to read these.

“I printed some of them off and laid them out on my bed. I got the guitar out, and pulled about two or three poems together, and stuck a chorus on and that’s how it was born.”

Anita Moran, Activities and Well-being Coordinator at Pendine Park’s Hillbury care home, is the first person in Wales to become an ambassador the worldwide Purple Angels campaign.

Anita was inspired to join the Purple Angels campaign, which has spread to 79 countries, by the experience of her late father Barry.

She said: “My dad was actually sectioned under the Mental Health Act, and that was the first we knew that he had dementia.

“None of us had realised, we just thought he was getting older. We realised about four years ago. He went into a home and because he’d had it so long he was getting to the later stages by the time we found out. He just hid it so well.”

The truth dawned on Anita the day her late mother, Jean, had a heart attack.

Anita said: “My sister phoned the ambulance. She went to the hospital, and the next morning my sister went round to see my dad and he couldn’t remember where he was.

“He couldn’t remember the paramedics being there. He thought my mum had left him.

“My sister went off and came back and he’d disappeared. To this day we don’t know how, he got from Buckley to Wrexham with no money.”

Anita is delighted with how the song has turned out.

She added: “I think the song is fantastic. Because it’s Norman’s story in his own words it’s got more meaning.”

Dementia is a common condition that affects about 800,000 people in the UK.

It is a syndrome associated with an on-going decline of the brain and its abilities. This includes problems with, memory loss, thinking speed, mental agility, language, understanding and judgement.

Chris Hodge, 28, who works as a teacher with Pendine Park’s in-house training company, Smartcare Teaching Care Centre, took on the project to produce, release and fund the track as well as playing secondary guitar.

He said: “I’m really happy with the way the song has turned out. I think Tracey’s voice works very well for it. It’s very soulful. You can tell there is a lot of passion and there is a lot of feeling behind what she is singing.

“Our campaign going round shops is trying to make sure that everybody understands what dementia is and how to respond appropriately when you recognise the signs and symptoms.”

Chris, who graduated from Glyndwr University with a degree in sound engineering in 2010, is now also a Purple Angel an ambassador. He is also translating the Purple Angel campaign material into Welsh.

He added: “We’re trying to remove that stigma, because Norman and the other people with dementia realise that it still exists.

“Norman even went into a shop once, and the person behind the counter thought that he was drunk because of symptoms. Norman explained to the shopkeeper that he has dementia, and the guy actually laughed in his face.”

To down load the song go to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/purple-angel-dementia-aware/id840769940?i=840769980and to learn more about the Purple Angel campaign please visit www.purpleangel.org.uk or contact Anita Moran at Pendine Park on 01978 720242.

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