International opera star Lesley Garrett will be highlighting the work of South Yorkshire dementia charity Lost Chord when she appears in a special edition of BBC1 TV show Songs of Praise on Sunday, May 18.
Lost Chord is the charity that provides vital interactive musical experiences for people living with dementia in care homes and day centres across the region.
‘Doncaster Diva’ Lesley, who is a patron of the organisation, will be seen taking part in a Lost Chord session at Oldfield House care home in her home town, alongside two of Lost Chord’s team of professional musicians - flautist Clare Langan and pianist Anna Tilbrook.
And the experience proved especially poignant for soprano Lesley - because Oldfield House was home to her aunt, who lived with dementia in the final years of her life.
Afterwards, Lost Chord chief executive Helena Muller said: “It was a wonderful session, and typical of the sort of concerts we perform every day throughout the year.
“One gentleman who never shows any reaction at all danced with me and sang all of the words to familiar songs.
“His wife arrived in floods of tears when I handed him over to dance with her.
“They rang their son and his dad told him on the phone that he had danced and sung - even though he never normally speaks at all.”
She added: “Lesley is a fantastic champion of our charity and she does all she can to support our work because she is determined that Lost Chord will survive beyond its 15th anniversary this year.
“The fact that she is helping to promote our work with Songs of Praise will be a wonderful advert for the work we do, not just in South Yorkshire but across the country, and I do urge everybody to watch and get an insight into the effect that music can have on people living with dementia.”
n To find out more about the work of Lost Chord visit www.lost-chord.org.uk