Soon after moving to East Sussex I was told about Music for the Memory and my husband, Dick, who has Alzheimers, attended the sessions in Battle until lockdown put a stop to the group meetings. I think MFTM is a wonderful charity and I am delighted to join the Trustees to help it continue to thrive and give pleasure to as many people as possible who live with dementia.
My background is in exercise physiology. I studied at Loughborough University in their Sports Science Department where I developed an interest in the role of exercise in preventing heart disease. I completed an MPhil at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham and then was lucky enough to receive a grant from the British Heart Foundation to complete a PhD at the National Heart and Lung Institute which is part of Imperial College, University of London.
The majority of my subsequent career was spent training clinicians and exercise professionals to be able to prescribe safe, effective exercise prescription as a means of preventing cardiac disease and also in rehabilitating those with existing disease. It has taken me to almost every hospital throughout the UK and I have met and worked with an extraordinary range of dedicated health professionals.
I gave up work soon after my husband received his dementia diagnosis in 2010. In 2016 we moved from the East Midlands to East Sussex to be closer to our daughter and son, both of whom live locally. We have a total of 5 grandsons and see as much as we can of both families.
Walking has always been Dick’s and my favourite shared activity and, until recently, we were still achieving 2 or 3 miles each day. He now finds this too much and so my current pastimes are gardening (a real passion) and reading (a complete addiction). When I have a carer for Dick I get out, either on foot or bike, into the wonderful Sussex lanes which surround where we live.
Although on hold throughout lockdown, I am also a Community Speaker for Alzheimer’s Research UK. This involves talking to local groups about the role of research in establishing the causes of dementia and potential treatments.
I am looking forward to working with everyone involved in MFTM!