By Debbie le Quesne

Posts Tagged ‘reminiscence therapy

MP’s campaign to bring ‘reminiscence therapy’ landmark back to life

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The old stained glass mural in Dudley

The old stained glass mural in Dudley

We all know how important memory signposts are for forgetful elderly people and those suffering from dementia.

So I was thrilled to hear that Dudley MP Ian Austin is championing a campaign to bring one of the most notable landmarks in Dudley back to life.

A campaign has been started to restore a huge glass memorial to Winston Churchill in Dudley town centre.

A stained glass tribute to former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, originally unveiled in 1969, once had pride of place in the town’s Churchill Precinct.

But the ravages of time, vandalism, weather and general economic decay took its toll and the 17 stained glass panels were taken down in the early 1990s.

Dudley MP Ian Austin said in the regional Press he was aiming for it to be restored for 2015 to mark 50 years since Churchill’s death.

The glass panels on the memorial, designed by artist Edward Bainbridge Copnall, have been stored at Himley Hall ever since they were taken down.

Mr Austin added that new techniques developed in the past few decades meant the problems that “dogged the mural first time round can be overcome”.

He said he was hoping to work with local experts, council officials and Dudley’s residents to find ways to restore the memorial, which stood over the town’s Churchill Precinct, and find funding for the project.

Significantly, he said: “No-one who grew up in Dudley could forget the magnificent memorial to Winston Churchill.

“I can’t remember the number of times I stood under the panels but I’ll never forget the impact they had on me. The memorial made me understand how Churchill inspired the British people not just to fight Britain’s liberty, but for the world’s freedom too.”

It’s understood that the local authority would be assessing the condition of the glass and would speak to Mr Austin about possibilities of restoral.

Any type of memory loss can be distressing and having such a huge signpost to aid the memory of some of Dudley’s elderly would be wonderful.

Reminiscence therapy uses life histories to spark conversations, linked-in memories and interaction.

Everyone reminisces and for older people memories mean more. Like all parts of our bodies, the brain needs to keep functioning to the optimum level it is capable of and reaching into a person’s long-term memory will help achieve that goal.

I wish Mr Austin well with his project. The mural would serve as a wonderful therapy prop for both Dudley and the great Sir Winston’s leadership of the British people during the Second World War.


Sporting memories to help in battle against memory loss

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 Now there’s golf, the gym  – and other sport, most of which I really don’t understand.

But one sporty news item wee outside of my comfort zone has caught my attention – rugby.

And before you mention muscle-bound men of steel, a mid-life crisis or the need for someone to put the bin out, stop it now!

I’m interested only in the game and in particular one derby that will be played on March 3 between Huddesfield Giants and Bradford Bulls.

The clash in West Yorkshire’s  will help raise the awareness of the  and its worthy reminiscence therapy.


There is a growing platform of evidence that suggests that the opportunity to reminisce for those suffering with memory-loss conditions can drastically enhance their life quality.

The Mental Health In Later Life Inquiry in England found that “Participation in meaningful activity, staying active and having a sense of purpose are just as important for the mental health and well-being of older people as they are for younger people.”

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued specific guidance for Occupational Therapists working in residential care homes which reported that the provision of meaningful daily activities can restore and improve the health and mental wellbeing of residents.

And the National Mental Health Development Unit published a fact file on Wellbeing, identifying the factors most frequently mentioned by older people as important to their mental well-being include – social activities, social networks, keeping busy and ‘getting out and about’, good physical health and family contact.

As part of developing memory activity, the The Giants have asked supporters to submit their favourite Claret and Gold memories in the run-up to and on the day of the game.

The Giants will also use this fiercely contested home fixture to raise awareness of dementia, a condition that involves loss of memory, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning.

The first man to submit his own rugby memory to the campaign is the perfect fit for this fixture having played for both the Huddersfield Giants and the Bradford Bulls – Giants’ Business Development Manager and rugby league legend Robbie Hunter-Paul.

My confession: I’ve never heard of him, but his name can be found dotted around the Google maze.

He is, I’m informed, a cult hero within the game and has had a prestigious rugby league career which involved leading the Giants to the Challenge Cup Final in 2006 against St Helens which he insists is his favourite rugby memory.

If you care to search on line you can find his memory account. “I just love reliving that feeling. It’s very, very humbling,” he comments.

As part of the game, the Giants are asking all fans to wear their favourite Giants shirt to the game from past years and there will be a  ‘Making Space Kirklees’ one-stop shop’ to find more about dementia.

After writing this blog, I’m left wandering whether there should be something similar staged in the golfing fraternity.

Images of women with hats, vintage golf breeches and hugely collectable vintage golf clubs . . . this could be an item on the next committee meeting agenda.



Written by debbielq

February 26, 2013 at 9:59 am