May 26 2009: Ada's musical memories help charity appeal
THE final years of Rotherham pensioner Ada Molyneux were lost to the tragedy of dementia, the illness that robbed her of all memories of her past.
But in the last few hours of her life, Ada at last found a way to communicate with the world around her, thanks to South Yorkshire charity Lost Chord.
And those few final moments of clarity were captured on camera by a film crew making an item for BBC1’s monthly charity appeal programme Lifeline.
Lost Chord - whose patrons include Cliff Richard, Dame Vera Lynn and Doncaster diva Lesley Garrett - was launched in 1999 and produces more than 850 musical sessions every year, using professional musicians to stimulate responses from dementia sufferers in care homes and day centres.
The BBC filmed another of the charity’s celebrity supporters, TV presenter Angela Rippon, during a visit to Rotherham’s Laureate Court home, where staff were amazed to see the way the music touched and revitalised Ada, who died just a couple of hours after the programme, which attracted donations worth several thousand pounds for Lost Chord, was screened.
“We visit Laureate Court and many other homes in the South Yorkshire area, using interactive music in order to stimulate responses from dementia sufferers and therefore attempt to keep their brains more active, raising their self esteem and reducing their anxiety levels,” explained Lost Chord’s Chief executive and High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Helena Muller.
“Ada featured in the film dancing with soprano Rebecca Rudge, who performs regularly with Lost Chord.
“It was so good to see that Ada was obviously enjoying herself so much shortly before she died and we are certain that the way she responded helped viewers to understand just how important the work of Lost Chord is in touching the lives of dementia sufferers. I’m sure that Ada’s legacy is now to help sustain Lost Chord into the future with her contribution to the BBC Lifeline Appeal.
“Her daughter said how anxious she was normally but music seemed to calm her anxiety and allow her to enjoy life again.
“Her family were delighted to receive a DVD of the appeal from Lost Chord giving them fond memories of how their mother used to be.”
Lost Chord currently covers more than 60 residential homes across South Yorkshire and the project has recently been expanded nationally, with pilot schemes in both Cardiff and London.
To give your support to the charity write to Lost Chord, The Coach House, 1 Abbey Lane, Slade Hooton, Nr Laughton-en-Le-Morthen, South Yorkshire, S25 1YQ, call 01909 563335 or email: Helena@lostchord.fsnet.co.uk