A choir especially for sufferers of dementia is starting in Eastbourne.
Diana Terry, from the Voices Choir, is a former actress and singer who enjoyed success in the West End, on television and in film.
After fighting cancer, Diana set up the Voices Choir locally.
It has grown in success and there are now three Voices Choirs meeting in Pevensey Bay each week.
Diana was watching a BBC documentary about a dementia choir and was inspired to set up one locally.
Diana said: “I really was so touched by the programme and the impact it had on these people was just amazing. It was wonderful to watch and I thought I would set up one for Eastbourne.”
Diana has secured some funding for the project but is looking for additional support from individuals and businesses they may be able to help. In addition she is reaching out to carers or family members with early dementia to get their loved-one involved.
It is hoped the Eastbourne dementia choir will be a great success and then Diana hopes to write to choir leaders across the country and encourage them to give up an hour of their time each week to set up similar projects in their areas.
Diana said: “We want it to be fun and we are going to pick songs they love and will remember from their youth. I’m thinking the likes of Dusty Springfield.
“It will be a learning experience and we will need to see what works and what the choir members want.
“I’m extremely excited about this project and think it could make a real difference to people – people who are often marginalised and misunderstood. They do not need to be spoken to as if they are five-year-olds.”
There will also be choir buddies on hand to help and Diana is hoping to use volunteers from the three existing choirs she runs in Eastbourne.
Diana has always been keen to get everyone involved in singing because she believes it is very therapeutic.
She said: “Singing gives people so much joy. It gives you such a feel good feeling.
“I don’t hold auditions for my choirs, everyone is welcome.
“Some members have nice voices but other struggle to hit the right notes. But it is about community and that is something I am very keen to bring to the dementia choir too.”
The dementia choir is currently being offered free of charge and Diana has received some funding. However, she does not have quite enough to cover the costs and is hoping members of the community can help with the project.
Anyone who wants to get involved or feels they could help should email firstname.lastname@example.org.