Singing charity’s cash plea

A GROUP which improves the wellbeing of older people through music is seeking cash and volunteers.

Sing for Your Life South West was founded in 2008 by Peter Clarke, of West Hill Road, Ottery, with an Awards for All grant of �10,000.

It costs around �5,000 a year to keep its monthly Silver Song Clubs running at Ottery Hospital, Stowford Lodge, Sidmouth and Exeter’s Age Concern Centre.

The cash goes on instruments, paying the three facilitators who run the sessions, and the expenses of volunteer helpers.

Fundraising events have included piano recitals at Peter’s home by his concert pianist wife, Joyce, which raised �1,000, and Sidmouth and Exeter Lions clubs and Sidmouth Consolidated Charities have given donations. There is enough money to keep the charity going until June, but help is needed beyond then.

“You can send out as many grant applications as you like, but it’s the luck of the draw as to who will support you,” said Peter.

Sessions are interactive, with singing, percussion instruments, hand chimes, memory games and chair-based exercises. They especially benefit people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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“It’s all to do with short-term memory, because some patients can’t remember recent events, but can remember songs they sang 50 years ago,” said conductor and musical appreciation lecturer Peter. “If they are singing, they are communicating, and it’s a form of social interaction they can enjoy.”

Peter has organised a taster session at Twyford House, Sidmouth, for January 26, to make it available to the community beyond Stowford Lodge. As well as financial support, Peter hopes to find someone to help him with the administrative side of things.

“It’s got to be somebody who has the enthusiasm for running it that I have, to help build on what we have done so far,” he said.

Call (01404) 814580, email or visit