What’s Not To Like?


I recently got asked why I did my radio show? My reply was every week I get to talk to inspirational people, play some of my favourite music and make friends all over the world what’s not to like? Admittedly when I started The ‘D’ Word things were a little different as I was in blind panic for a couple of weeks after agreeing to join UK Health Radio. Suddenly with few contacts I was supposed o find someone interesting to talk about Dementia. All I had was my original demo show and little else.

To start the show I figured I needed something big so why not start with the Chief Executive of the UK’s largest Dementia charity The Alzheimers Society. Easier said than done you might think but in contrast it was fairly easy to set up a meeting thanks to his PA. Arriving with my laptop at Crutched Friars I proceeded to the first floor which appeared a buzzing hive of people walking around with cardboard cups of coffee. I also noted that the monogramed cushions on the sofa opposite the reception desk probably cost more than my yearly budget when I was working for the Society. At this point I must admit that I got a certain thrill entering Jeremy Hughes office but never letting on that I used to work for him. To be fair he was charming but he was also adept at batting off any difficult questions which in my eyes made the chat a little sterile. You’ll notice I use the word chat because that is what it is. I quickly learned that to access the big players in the game you need to go through a wall of media people who want every detail on what you are going to ask. Was it really worth it?

All I wanted to do was have a friendly chat to give the listeners the impression we were just two friends chatting over a cuppa. That principle was disarming to the large organisations media teams who were used to staged BBC type interviews. So I made the decision to largely contact those people who are doing a great job but can’t afford media teams to highlight the work they are doing. At first I was apprehensive what the response would be but I was delighted when everyone welcomed me with open arms only too glad to be given the opportunity to tell people about their work. I also wanted to talk to people living with Dementia. I’m often called an expert but the real experts are the people living everyday with the condition. Not only are they inspiring that have also taught me an awful lot about communication and I hope I’ve used that knowledge to make The ‘D’ Word a better listening experience. After over 150 episodes I guess I must be doing something right.

But while I’m the public face of TWRadio I couldn’t achieve anything without my Production Assistant Angela who has been a true Alzeimers Angel since I persuaded her to get involved. She has a great deal of first hand knowledge having cared for her husband Dave who sadly passed away after a long battle with Dementia. She keeps my diary up to date, liases with guests and runs the excellent Facebook page. Simply said if there was no Angela The ‘D’ Word would really struggle. Its funny to think now that at the beginingI had arranged for a guest to come on the show to talk about a range of Dementia friendly games he was producing. About a week before the chat which was the first after a holiday I received an e-mail saing ‘now you’re back in the office can you get your PA to contact me.’ Amazing the impression you can give when in fact you’re doing everything from your spare bedroom!

So far I have spoken to guests from the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, India, Kenya, and Costa Rica which has as I said in the intro given me friends all over the world. I’ve spoken to many people living with Dementia, eminent researchers and scientists, learned about Dementia Dogs and hopefully given a lot of small charities a voice. When I started I honestly thought things woud come to an end after six months but now I feel as long as there are inspirational people out there with great stories to tell then I’ll only be only too happy to keep on spreading the word. After all what’s not to like?


A Little Bit of History Part 5

No job, plenty of time, and fortunate enough to not have to work if I don’t want to. Might sound perfect but it left me one rainy Thursday afternoon looking blankly at a computer screen. Am I too young to retire, what does retirement actually mean? The game plan had always been, leave Local Government aged 55, tick, fill a day with charity work, tick, spend three days doing something useful, big cross! Even after my struggles to deal with the management structure at the Alzheimer’s Society there were definitely days when I wondered if I’d done the right thing. Was I a coward? Had I let my friends down, was I heading for a life in front of the TV watching Bargain Hunt? So what are my interests I thought. Well radio has always been there since I walked through the gates of Friern Hospital (all revealed in Part 1) and over the past two years I’d been welcomed into what I called ‘Dementia World’.

Now I have no idea how many internet searches I do a day, I’m a great one for putting every question I can think of into Google and seeing what comes out. It even became a feature of my Activity Groups, they were known as ‘Google Moments’. How many stations on the London Underground? Ask Pete he’ll ask Google they used to say. Its 270 by the way and one afternoon in one of our groups 14 people living with dementia named over 150 of them before I got anywhere near Google! So into my font of all knowledge I put ‘Radio + Dementia”. Out came a few adverts for Dementia friendly radio sets and a few people had put together some old songs under a heading of reminiscence but the more I searched the realisation began to dawn nobody was regularly talking about Dementia on the radio.

So there was definitely a gap in the market but filling it was something that would take a bit of thinking about. Back in the day trying to get an existing station interested would have been virtually impossible, but the introduction of internet radio had changed all that. But then again who listens to internet radio? Well actually most of us do, every morning I ask Alexa to “play Radio Five Live’ I then go downstairs and hit the pre select buttons on the soundbox that connects straight to whatever station you want. Using DAB the rest of the time, even in the car, I actually realised I hardly ever listen to conventional ‘airwave’ radio anymore.

The next job then was to find an internet station willing to take on an hour of talk about a subject that a lot of people don’t want to talk about. As well as the fact I had nobody to talk to and no format. Enter once again Google which led me to No Barriers Radio in Welwyn Garden City, the station against discrimination. An initial e-mail and phone conversation found a station set up by a team with learning diffculties who had done an amazing job in getting themselves a small cupboard sized studio in a prized office development. When I put my idea to them they invited me in with open arms and suddenly I was back on the radio.

So I had an hour a week no title, no format and no guests. The title came first I’d heard cancer called the ‘C’ word because it held a dread factor so why not The ‘D’ Word as Dementia holds a similar feeling for many people. Next came RadioTDW as a logical title for social media or so I thought, until using my friend Google again I found a Mexican radio station had beaten me to that one. Undetered I started putting a format together conscious of the fact most people have a short attention span and living with Dementia can make that even shorter I needed something to break up my chats. No problem there a lifelong love of all types of music and a pretty big collection gave me plenty of tracks to break up the chat. But who do I chat to? For that I’ll always be thankfull to my local Care UK home Snowdrop House in Ware. They set me up with one of their Dementia experts, a Macbook and a retro microphone purchased from Amazon did the rest.

I’ll be forever grateful to the team at No Barriers for opening the studio door to me but it only took a few weeks for me to realise I needed to look for a bigger audience. When I was working in Public Health I used to present a 10 minute podcast called “I’m a Public Health Professional Get Me Out of Here!” It was what people call a sideways look at the subject featuring plenty of old jokes, my grandads sayings and a Furby called Stanley. (You can’t get much more sideways than that!) Somehow it got picked up by UK Health Radio and was broadcast over a couple of years. In for a penny in for a pound I managed to record an interview with Dementia Adventure, who are a great organisation who arrange holidays for people living with dementia and their carers. A quick mix job with Apples excellent Garageband and it was on its way to UK Health Radio.

Now many years ago I can remember sending demo tapes out in the post to numerous radio stations and then standing there snatching the post from my side of the letterbox as the Postman was poking it through from his. I can also remember being very disappointed when the majority of my targets failed to reply. So this time I was shocked when I got an e-mail back within a day from Johann the CEO at UK Health Radio asking me to call him for a chat. I’d already worked out my approach the station covers every health condition you can imagine, and some you can’t, but they don’t do anything on Dementia. One of my main aims was getting people to accept that Dementia is just another health condition and they could talk about it like they talk about cancer or diabetes.

I must admit I was a bit aprehensive phoning Johann, he’s a very approachable guy but I was still expecting the worst, especially when he started our conversation with the words; “I’ve listened to your demo and I think its very good.” Experience told me that the next word in that type of conversation is usually “but”. This time though it wasn’t as Johann went on ; “I’d like you to do an hour a week for us is that OK?” I’m not sure what he must have thought of my reply which was a sort of mumbled “er well er yes I think so?”

Suddenly a rainy Thursday afternoon internet search had turned into a weekly radio show and that was just the start………..

A Little Bit of History Part 4

When I first joined Local Government Margaret Thatcher had just taken up residence at No 10, strikes were the norm and punk had all but blown itself out. Even in those turbulent times I was aware what lurked behind the doors of the town hall was a parallel universe that presented me with something I had no idea existed. The fact I survived the paperwork, the constantly changing policies, and a lack of common sense that left normal people speechless says two things. One I must have some belief what I was doing really made a difference and two despite my best efforts I spent hours banging my head against the brick wall of the establishment without making the slightest dent.

When I finally escaped and I don’t use that word advisedly, life was hard to cope with for a while but just as I was finding my feet in the real world I was cast straight back into the land of make believe which was the Alzheimer’s Society Essex. Now at this point I must make a disclaimer whats to come only relates to Essex unless mentioned as fairly I didn’t work in other areas of the country so can’t speak with any authority about them.

As you read in part three my crash course in dementia started with being in charge of an entire activity group for a day on one leg and quickly progressed to having carers cry on my shoulder and volunteers questioning I had any idea what I was doing. Which given my lack of training at that stage was a legitimate enquiry. Gradually I found my feet in a strange world that had me filling in more paperwork than I’d seen in a decade and battling against a computer system that had originally been designed to keep tabs on widget buying customers not manage the needs of people living with dementia. The fact I survived the first six months which culminated in the longest appraisal meeting I’d had in my life (which included my time managing a department of 29 with a £1 million budget) was entirely down to my group leaders who I’m glad to say remain my good friends.

Unfortunately the whole thing came to a rather unseemly head when we received what was called a TQR, which in simple terms was a service audit. I’d been involved in literally hundreds of these over the years and to be fair most times I’d found the auditors knowledgeable about the service often because they were currently or had been involved in the same line of work. It was then to my surprise that an audit team turned up with little idea of what we actually did. What they wanted to see was a trail of paper, a collection of policy folders and the correct policy documents displayed on the wall. What quickly became evident is what they weren’t interested in was the amazing care shown by my volunteers and staff which regularly went way beyond the call of duty. From the day I started until the day I left I’d made it a requirement of myself to find out something about all our group members so I could engage them in conversation. In doing that I heard some amazing stories and had some great laughs. My favourite was the ex-boxer one of 14 children who said ‘I wouldn’t be here if my Mum and Dad had the money to buy a telly!’ My staff members and volunteers did similar but at no point did this vital knowledge appear on an audit sheet. Accordingly despite our best efforts the auditors couldn’t have cared less.

The day I knew my involvement with dementia would have to carry on outside the Alzheimer’s Society was the day I had a stand up row with the head of the audit team. I’m not proud of losing my temper although I still managed to do so in a constructive manner despite huge provocation. The story involved one of our octogenarian group members who was a Type 2 diabetic. In chatting to the audit team this information came out whilst he was eating a biscuit. The auditors suddenly went into a panic when he said he was allowed biscuits at home and demanded I raise an immediate safeguarding report with the County Council. An argument quickly ensued with me saying wouldn’t it be a good idea to get some more information before raising the alarm in response to which I was firmly told ‘ its not our job to investigate we are a reporting organisation!’ My snap reply perhaps wasn’t the best but its still a sentiment I stand by today as I told them ‘Do you not think Social Services have enough to do without worrying about people eating a few biscuits. At one end of the scale you have baby P and at the other a plate of digestives which do you think is the most important?’ Needless to say if I had any intentions of rising up the heirachy they had quickly flown out of the window after that. But as you probably will have guessed a quick conversation with the family revealed the gentleman concerned had recently visited the diabetic nurse and she had informed them that the occasional biscuit was no problem at all.

Unfortunately that was only one example of a risk averse mentality that strangled parts of the service. We did have some victories one Christmas a volunteer penned a panto for some of our group members and they performed it superbly one afternoon in front of their family members. That one strangely escaped the attention of the heirachy mainly because we were very careful not to tell them what we had in mind!

As time went on I must admit the procession of needless meetings began to take its toll. Sitting round a table being asked every two weeks what is your ‘happy news’ and what are your ‘head scratchers’ would try the patience of a saint in my world but there were those who loved the bi-weekly spotlight. Our service was simple every week we entertain 60 people and the great majority leave with smiles on their faces. My ‘head scratcher’ was how as a team we managed to balance the books, but somehow we did.

My decision to leave was greeted very differently by the heirachy and my volunteers, staff and group members. No doubt celebrating the ‘awkward bloke who bucked the system’ setting sail the management did….precisely nothing not even a goodbye. Despite pleading with me to stay my staff, volunteers and group members staged impromptu parties, had me singing Kareoke for the first time ever, gave me presents I will always treasure and made me cry (in a good way).

Unfortunately my experience has turned me away from major charities and from people I speak to I’m not alone in that but on a positive note it did open the door to dementia world and I had no idea where that would lead me…

A Little Bit of History Part 3

Thirty years is a long time in one job and when you finally make the decision to jump ship life can get a bit scary. Whilst I’d maintained a grip on reality by working as a freelance sports journalist as a hobby, Local Government was all I’d known until 2013. Not that I’m complaining the way things worked out, but I was a direct victim of the 2008 crash. A bunch of bankers who would probably have taken less risk if they’d put their funds on the 2:30 at Kempton Park had produced a siesmic schockwave that gave birth to austerity. By the time the aftershocks had reached rural Hertfordshire a department of 29 had to find £100,000 from somewhere. To be honest I’d always wanted to get out at a certain time so unlike so many people who had their lives turned upside down it suited me at the time. My passage out was eased by being taken on immeadiately by an Environmental consultancy run by someone I’d known for a good 20 years. What followed was three years of editing a website, event organising and conducting You Tube interviews. The latter led to me being called the “Public Health Parkinson” by a certain Director of Public Health. Fun as it was a lot of it was achieved on-line and I began hankering for the day to day contact of working with people once again.

Doing a Google search on ‘charity jobs’ may well have changed many lives and it certainly changed mine. I learned that the Alzheimer’s Society were looking for a Group Activity Support Manager in West Essex, whatever one of those was? In for a penny in for a pound I applied with little hope of success, after all what did I really know about dementia? To my great surprise I was offered an interview along with the task of preparing a presentation to persuade commissioners about the value of social groupings for people living with dementia! Now I’m no stranger to presentations having once talked to Commenwealth MP’s about climate change at the Houses of Parliament but this one had me foxed. In the end I started with a game of tiddly winks to demonstrate how games can break the ice and lighten the mood and finished with a recording of Sam from 1988 (See A Little Bit of History Part 1) and it did the trick.

To be honest my first day didn’t bode well for the future, I was expecting an introduction to dementia and the services of the Alzheimers Society I got a pile of policies to read through and a form to assure I understood them. Things didn’t get much better as I was introduced to Salesforce and Arena the internal computer systems which were as blunt as the bluntest of instruments. Two weeks in I injured my foot and was forced to limp about on a crutch for seven days. By then I had been let loose on the groups I was charged with managing which already left me worrying about the wisdom of using a 17th building with a spiral fire escape and an area of glass floor for one of our venues! My injury coincided with an illness for one of my group leaders which left me faced with the prospect of leading two activity groups while hobbling on a crutch. At the time I was terrified now I look back and recognise it was one of the pivotal moments which dictated what I’m doing now and why I’m writing things like this blog.

That day I learned more about how to communicate with people living with dementia than any book could tell me. The key I found was simple…be yourself. I’m a North London lad who loves music and football I was faced with a roomful of people who may live in Essex but virtually all had London roots everyone was up for a laugh and once I got chatting to Elsie about the Dave Clark Five playing Tottenham Royal and Bernard about Leyton Orient I was in. From that day I developed friendships with our group members and their families some of which I’m happy to say remain today. Thats not to say it was all easy going. The first time I realised what dementia was really about was one Monday afternoon. I was sitting with George looking at a picture of Mohammed Ali, “Do you like boxing George?” I asked “I used to box in the army I was a bantomweight,” he replied before giving me a complete description of one of his fights from the 50’s. A couple of minutes later I’d drifted away to another table when George beckoned me over, “Pete” he said “Remind me where the toilet is again.”

I also quickly learned that a life in Environmental Health had given me the ability to think on my feet as it was obvious that despite the reams of policies and procedures little was going to be invested in teaching me how to cope with what was thrown at me everyday. From questions about 85 year old former boxers having a knife to peel their lunchtime apple to carers crying on my shoulder it certainly couldn’t be described as anything but interesting.

Looking back my first few months were certainly a case of sink or swim, on one hand I was working hard to gain the confidence of our group members, my staff and volunteers, on the other I was already banging my head against a wall of bureaucracy that even 30 years in local government hadn’t prepared me for.

A Little Bit of History Part II

I often feel privaledged to have lived in two centuries, my grandmother or ‘nana’ as she was always known lived through three. Two world wars the invention of the television, and landing a man on the moon were just a few of the moments of history she witnessed. Born two years before Queen Victoria died in many ways she remained a lady of victorian principles. Starting life in the infamous Beaconsfield Buildings in Islington, that were constructed by the Victoria Dwellings Association to provide healthy and comfortable dwellings for the labouring classes. The 1911 census shows her at age 11 living at 8F Beaconsfield Buildings with nine others in a flat that only had three rooms.

My first memory is visiting the house she occuppied with my grandad Ted in Wood Green North London early in the 1960’s. After Ted had travelled around the country as a jobbing electrician taking his family with him. According to family legend at one stage he worked with the team that split the atom. Quite how much truth there was in that I have never found out, the only thing I know is grandads Christmas lights were always attached to the wall socket courtesy of bare wires and strategically placed match sticks. By the time they moved to Perth Road in 1950 they had two children in tow. My Mum who was born in 1928 and my uncle Edward who was 13 at the time. Edward was born with both mental and physical disabilities suffering numerous epileptic attacks which led the National Neurological Hospital to declare they would be surprised if he saw out his teens. In effect he defied the doctors, passing away in 2008 at the age of 71.

Nana was a tough lady after grandad Ted died suddenly in 1971 she dedicated the rest of her life to caring for her son well into her 90’s. That involved cooking, washing, dressing, and attending to Uncle Edward’s every need. As time began to catch up with her she reluctantly accepted carers but on most occasions they would sit with a cup of tea while she continued the routine she’d started over half a century ago. She wasn’t an easy woman to get on with and there’s no doubt that there were some complicted politics within the family. On one occasion a man called Uncle Bill turned up to stay a few nights Nana making it perfectly clear when he was out of earshot he was bad news and we shouldn’t have anything to do with him.

Aunt Daise was Nana’s younger sister in fact when the two were 96 and 91 respectively the older sister still refered to her younger sibling as ‘that stupid young girl.’ Daisy was in the habit of staying at Perth Road every so often and it was after one of those visits that we began to have our suspicions that things weren’t quite right. “She’s not coming back as she’s stealing my stuff,” said Nana accusing her younger sister of removing certain household items. Eccentric to a tee, kind, generous with a personality that would think it her duty to give you her last shilling Aunt Daise was definitely not a thief. It transpired she’d left Wood Green in tears after being on the wrong end of her elder sisters tongue. Sadly the two were never really reconciled after that.

To be honest after that the word dementia wasn’t used Dad’s way of explaining was ‘I think your Nana’s going a bit funny.’ After that first incident what I then saw though was the slow decline I now know as typical of Alzheimer’s. That said she still soldiered on in the house for a couple of years and had a habit of turning it on for the crowd when Social Services turned up to carry out an assessment. I can clearly remember one case conference around the living room table when a rather pompous social worker got the full Nana treatment. “Now we are all gathered this afternoon to talk about Mrs Elizabeth Howard one of the elders of the borough,” only to be interupted by Nana shouting, “Oy I’m not a bleedin elder I’m an old age pensioner!” At Age 98 it finally became time for her to be moved from the house she’d occupied for 47 years I’d like to say it was a dignified ending as she shed a tear and closed the door for the last time but in reality she went after the emergency services had to break in for the final time.

Her remaining three years were spent in a lovely small residential home in Bounds Green where despite her often violent outbursts they treated her like family. On more than one occasion I arrived to be informed “your Nan is in her room and she’s in one of those moods.” Usually that meant somehow she’d managed to dress herself in her hat and coat from her wheelchair and was sitting in attack mode with her walking stick threatening anyone who came close. She never failed to recognise who I was and was convinced Dad was having an illicit affair with the woman who ran the home. Once she said to me ” you’re not a proper grandson you never ask me for money.” Deeply distrustful of banks what small amount she had was stashed away under various floorboards as we’d found when we were forced by an unsypathetic council to clear the house in three weeks. That was used to buy her various luxuries she still appreciated including an increasing number of bottles of gin. In fact later on we found that somehow because she’d given up formal work when Edward was born she never had a national insurance number.

As her health declined she payed regular visits to North Middlesex Hospital where on one occasion I found her edging up the ward at a snails pace with her zimmer frame. “Hello Nan where are you going?” I said “I’m going downstairs to see Ted!” she replied. I tried to reassure her that he wasn’t there but she was having none of it. In the end I had to politely inform the ward sister that we needed a bit of assistance as my grandmother was staging an escape bid. By this stage I realised that there was something major going on but in all honesty going back to my experiences at Friern Hospital I believed that most people in their 90’s were likely to behave in the same way.

Nana had one last chance to turn it on for the crowd in August 1999 when she celebrated her 100th birthday. As you can see from the quote above she rose to the occasion. When she finally went to sleep for the last time aged 101 it still didn’t really register that she’d been living with dementia for what must have been five or six years. Fast forward to 2016 and an interview room in Essex when I was asked the question ‘do you have any experience of dementia?’ My reply was ‘well my grandmother went a bit strange when she was about 96 but I guess at that age you are entitled to.’ RIP Nana

A Little Bit of History – Part 1

Friern Hospital where it all started.

I was asked the other day when I first started out on the TDW Radio project and without thinking I said about 1977. Not surprisingly the person who posed the question looked a little confused until I explained with a little bit of history.

It was a hot summers day in July 1977 and as I had done for a few years I was attending an Open Day at Friern Hospital in North London. The hospital had been part of my life for as long as I could remember living in the road opposite as I did. There’s no real way of dressing it up, it was an old victorian asylum which to most people was a pretty frightening place. Once a year though they let the locals in for a fete on the field and Mum and I were regular attendees, although I was under strict instructions for years, don’t talk to any strangers and don’t look the patients in the eye because it will upset them. On this particular afternoon my Mum knowing my love of music and attempts to run school disco’s had spotted a stand close to the main entrance with the words ‘Radio Friern’ above it. “Go and ask them how you become a DJ” she said pushing me forward. As I approached an amiable looking guy a couple of years older than me I some how blurted out the words; “er how do you become a DJ here?” Within minutes I was in a converted dental technicians lab that had been turned into a radio studio. I got to know it pretty well because I was still there for one final time 16 years later when the hospital closed.

I will never forget being taken into my first ward one night for what the presenters called ‘a visit’. The general idea being to talk to the staff and gather any requests for the nights programmes. Having seen the building from the outside I must admit I had little idea what it would look like from the inside. The answer was high ceilings, patches of peeling paint, and a general run down appearance. That though wasn’t my main impression, what concerned me much more were the circle of ‘patients’ sitting round staring at a TV which presented a picture which turned over every 30 seconds. Who were these people and what were they suffering from? The answer from the staff was they were geriatrics? They all seemed of a similar age but what about the younger woman in the corner who wasn’t as old as my Mum? That was Catherine who as I know now had early onset dementia sitting in a ward of dementia patients all at least 25 years her senior. Catherine was mild mannered and loved the song Mississippi by Pussycat a song we all got to know well.

As the years progressed we got more and more involved with the patients and staff dreaming up various wacky plans to try to lighten the gloom. Easter 1988 was a good example for some reason we decided it would be good to do a 27 hour non stop broadcast the first part of which would be a series of challenges for two sets of presenters. A kind of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here minus the creepy crawlies and the nauseating menu. One of the activities was to stage a party in one of the wards. This particular ward had managed to get an old piano from somewhere but they didn’t have anyone to play it. Then out of his armchair Sam arrived, he was in his 80’s as I now know living with dementia but that didn’t stop him banging out an hour of cracking party tunes. At the end I’ll be forever endebted to my friend Michelle who put a microphone in front of Sam who calmly looked up and said: “I came to this place many years ago and by and large this party has been the jolliest time I’ve had since I’ve been here. The only thng is next year you’ll have to find a second pianist.” No there wasn’t a dry eye in the house and true to his prediction when we did go back a year later Sam’s dementia had progressed and he could no longer play the piano.

I have no idea what happened to Catherine and Sam after the hospital closed. I do know though that they live on in my memory and to this day I carry the audio clip of Sam recorded at Easter 1988 on my phone. In fact I used it as the closing point of the presentation which got me a job with the Alzheimers Society. When Friern Hospital closed in 1993 I was already making my way as a freelance sports reporter on Chiltern Radio but it wasn’t long before dementia entered my life again….

TDW Radio Rock ’n’ Roll Reminiscence Kit January 1965


Yeh Yeh – Georgie Fame
Baby Please Don’t Go – Them
Cast Your Fate To The Wind – Sounds Orchestral
I’m Lost Without You – Billy Fury
You’ve Lost ThatLoving Feeling – Righteous Brothers
Girl Don’t Come – Sandie Shaw
Tired of Waiting For You – The Kinks
Paper Tiger – Sue Thompson
Come See About Me – Diana Ross & The Supremes
Come Tomorrow – Manfred Mann
Ferry Across The Mersey – Gerry & The Pacemakers
Go Now – The Moody Blues
Terry – Twinkle
Hold Me – PJ Proby
Leader of the Pack – Shangri La’s
Keep Searching – Del Shannon
I Feel Fine – Beatles
Getting Mighty Crowded – Betty Everett
Walk Tall – Val Doonican
Dance Dance Dance – Beach Boys

All the tracks are available on Spotify


Guests from 112 nations attended the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in St Pauli Cathedral. The ceremony was televised worldwide with an estimated audience of 350m viewers. Nearly a million mourners gathered on the streets as the funeral cortege made its way from Westminster Hall to St Pauls accompanied by 7,000 marching soldiers and nine military bands. Sir Winstons casket was then transported from St. Paul’s Cathedral to his birthplace, the village of Bladon, where he was buried at the St. Martin’s Church graveyard.

Cup holders West Ham started the defence of their trophy with a 4-2 win against Birmingham City in The FA Cup Third Round there were also wins for Manchester United, Leeds and Chelsea while Tottenham face a replay after being held 3-3 by Fourth Division Torquay. Margaret Smith won the Australian Open tennis championships after opponent Maria Bueno was forced to retire trailing 5-2 in the third set in Melbourne while Wales got their five nations rugby campaign off to the perfect start beating England 14-3 in Cardiff.

Identical twin brothers Ronald and Reginald Kray have been remanded in custody charged in connection with running a protection racket in London.
The brothers, described in court as company directors of the Glenrae Hotel, in Seven Sisters Road, North London, have been charged with demanding money with menaces in the County of London between 1 October 1964 and 6 January 1965. The twins, who are 31, were distinguishable in court only by their clothes. Ronald wore a dark suit and Reginald a light one. They have been remanded in custody for a week to give police time to make more arrests in connection with the case.




The Charts


© TDWRadio2019

Rock ‘n’ Roll Reminiscence Kit May 1958


Whole Lotta Woman – Marvin Rainwater
Teacher Teacher – Johnny Mathis
Swinging Sheperd Blues – Ted Heath Music
Breathless – Jerry Lee Lewis
What a Wonderful Time Up There – Pat Boone
Tequila – The Champs
To Be Loved – Jackie Wilson
Twilight Time – The Platters
Witch Doctor – Don Laing
Sugartime – Alma Cogan
Out of the Blue – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Maybe Baby – Buddy Holly
Lollipop – The Chordettes
The Army Game – Micheal Medwin/Alfie Bass
Tulips From Amsterdam – Max Bygraves
Kewpie Doll – Frankie Vaughan
Wear My Ring Around Your Neck – Elvis Presley
Who’s Sorry Now – Connie Francis
Magic Moments – Perry Como
Nairobi – Tommy Steele
Sweet Little Sixteen – Chuck Berry
Grand Coolie Dam – Lonnie Donegan
La Dee Dah – Jackie Dennis

All tracks available on Spotify


American Rock & Roll Star Jerry Lee Lewis has abandoned his UK tour after only three appearances and returned home. The 22 year old singer had run into trouble when it was revealed that he had married his 13 year old cousin Myra in December. Fans were not only outraged by his new wife age but also by the fact that Lewis hadn’t officially divorced his second wife before the ceremony. Crowds at Edmonton, Kilburn and Tooting gave the star a hostile reception before the Rank chain of theatres cancelled the rest of his UK dates. Earlier in the week the scandal had reached the House of Commons when Home Office minister, Iain Macleod, was called upon to answer questions from MPs.

Postmaster General Ernest Marples has announced that from December, Subscriber Trunk Dialling will be introduced in the Bristol area where 18,000 subscribers will be able to make trunk calls without the aid of the operator.
The General Post Office is to spend £35m modernising the phone system in an effort to popularise use of the telephone. At the moment there are on average less than two calls a day per telephone made in the UK – half the number of those made in the US. All calls will be charged automatically according to both time of call and distance. Prices will start at 2d and a three-minute call will cost 2s 6d, Callers in London will not benefit from the new system until 1961 because more complicated equipment will be needed in the larger cities.

Bolton Wanderers won the FA Cup for the fourth time in their history with a 2-0 win over Manchester United at Wembley Nat Lofthouse scored both Wanderers goals in front of a crowd of 90,000. Tennis and America’s Mervyn Rose beat Luis Ayala of Chile to win the French Open Title but there was disappointment for Britains Shirley Bloomer in the women single as she was beaten 6-4 1-6 6-2 by Hungarys Suzy Kormoczy. Ms Bloomer did fair better in the mixed doubles taking the title with her partner Nicola Pietrangeli




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Risky Business?

We recently visited Dementia Adventure who are a great organisation who arrange holidays for people living with dementia and their carers amongst other things. During our chat the thorny subject of risk assessment came up which was fairly inevitable I guess. Their response to it though was very refreshing.

Before entering into Dementia World as I call it I spent a career as an Environmental Health Officer (EHO). As I found out it was one of the lesser known local authority jobs which suffered from the public misconception that it was all about inspecting restaurants. I’ll save the full job description but part of it included enforcing the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. You can tell an EHO by the way, as they like me, will be very pedantic about including the etc in the title. As you can imagine many years of being greeted with “hello the health and safety police are here!” or “are you going to ban my kids playing conkers?” took their toll after a while. One thing I was increasingly aware of is that most people have very little idea about risk assessment. Used properly it can be quite liberating, used incorrectly (about 80% of the time although I may be biased) it can be totally restrictive.

When I first worked for a major dementia charity I’d been in the job a couple of weeks when one of our volunteers said to me, “I’m very worried that Mr X has a knife to peel his apple and Mr Y has two paracetomol in his glass case.” As it turned out Mr X was a 6’4″ ex boxer who had shared a great chat with me about being one of 14 children where he used the line ‘don’t know if I’d be here if they’d invented television earlier!’ and Mr Y seemed a perfectly nice man who like all of us might suffer from the occasional headache. The point is because both had mild dementia alarm bells had started to ring. There’s no doubt the volunteer concerned had the right intentions at heart but it did highlight to me that if we’d actually removed Mr X’s fruit knife and Mr Y’s paracetomol we would have taken away a lot of their self respect plus leaving them with an unpeeled apple and a headache! Unfortunately things at the charity didn’t improve as I was regularly faced with multiple page ‘risk assessments’ which attempted to cover the intricate details of people getting out of their chairs to play skittles while ignoring the totally inadequate fire escapes.

You cannot wrap people in cotton wool and there is an argument to say if someone is living with dementia even more reason to let them live a little which is why Dementia Adventures Top Ten Tips For Positive Risk Taking impressed me so much.

  1. Find out what people want – The ‘D’ word may have entered your life but thats no reason why you shouldn’t still have a choice and control over what happens. If you’re physically fit and you want to fly down a zip wire why not?
  2. Fear clouds our judgement – Whats the worst thing that can happen? How likey is it to occur? I once had a colleague who rated everything with the highest risk factor because the buildings they were inspecting could have burnt down.
  3. Improve the environment – that way you maximise the chance of success.
  4. No one size fits all – risk is a very personal thing. People who climb mountains for fun are likely to underestimate the risks they take, people who have never climbed mountains over estimate the risks involved.
  5. Success builds confidence – no further comment necessary.
  6. Confidence and trust are key – Very easy to lose if you try to be too restrictive.
  7. Be prepared – Risk assessments don’t always involve reams of paperwork some of the most effective can be dynamic.
  8. Safety in numbers – We’re all human whether we are living with dementia or not.
  9. Circle of support – Risk assessment shouldn’t be a lone task its vital to have someone to bounce ideas off.
  10. Allow room for ‘no activity’ – Being outdoors is great if you just want to sit and enjoy it thats fine.

Hopefully more people are looking at positive risk taking because lets face it if you took risk assessment to the nth degree your ultimate control measure would be not getting out of bed.

TDW Radio Rock ‘n’ Roll Reminiscence Kit June 1971

Playlist (All songs available on Spotify)

Heaven Must Have Sent You – The Elgins
I’m Gonna Run Away From You – Tammy Lynn
Mozart Symphony No 40 – Waldo De Los RiosTDW Radio
Indiana Wants Me – R Dean Taylor
My Brother Jake – Free
Brown Sugar – Rolling Stones
He’s Gonna Step On You Again – John Kongos
Malt & Barley Blues – McGuinness Flint
Lady Rose – Mungo Jerry
Don’t Let It Die – Hurricane Smith
When You Are A King – White Plains
Jig a Jig – East of Eden
CoCo – The Sweet
The Banner Man – Blue Mink
Knock Three Times – Dawn
I Did What I Did For Maria – Tony Christie
We Can Work It out – Stevie Wonder
It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr








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