Penwortham man with dementia writes The Secret D, a song about living with the illness, in aid of Alzheimer's Society

A man with vascular dementia has written and recorded a song about his experiences of the condition to support Alzheimer’s Society.

By Natalie Walker
Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 4:10 pm
Updated Friday, 12th April 2019, 11:39 am
Nathan Timothy, from The Songwriting Charity, UCLan music student Lewis Hampson and John Holt have recorded a song for Alzheimer's Society
Nathan Timothy, from The Songwriting Charity, UCLan music student Lewis Hampson and John Holt have recorded a song for Alzheimer's Society

As a former musician in a brass band, John Holt, of Penwortham, penned the lyrics for The Secret D and contacted The Songwriting Charity, set up by Nathan Timothy, who agreed to write the music and produce it.

The 69-year-old who attends Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain in Penwortham, and is also a member of the Skylarks Community Choir, said: “I wanted to write something that explains what happens when you get dementia and how if you keep doing activities it can help you.

"I hope the lyrics communicate how I feel and emphasise that there are many things we can still do and learn. I try to be as active as possible and organise lots of new things and I really believe that helps me to deal with this condition.

Skylarks Community Choir who have helped to record a charity song wriiten by John Holt, of Penwortham, for Alzheimer's Society

"I wanted to share that message with other people with dementia, and, at the same time, raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society, as I feel the charity has really helped me. My confidence has grown since attending these singing groups. Prior to getting dementia, I would never have stood up and sung. Now I have written a song and sold 200 copies of the CD already.”

The lead vocals are sung by UCLan music student Lewis Hampson who lost his grandfather to dementia last year. The 22-year-old said: “I met John at a singing for the brain group. Having lost my grandad who had dementia, I felt humbled when I was asked to sing lead vocals on the song John had wrote. It made me think I was giving something back to the society who had supported my grandad. I am studying Musical Theatre so singing is a great passion of mine. Being part of this project was my absolute pleasure.”

A small group from Skylarks joined John in singing on the recording.

Jane Swarbrick, who leads Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain group and runs Skylark Community choir, said: “John echoes an important message that people can still keep active and having interests helps many people with dementia. Music is important for people with dementia. Singing helps them communicate, improving their mood and leaving them feeling good about themselves."

John is also writing a book called From Birth to Dementia about his life.