Seaside Memories, Our Story

A Truly Memorable Seaside Song

Singing and music can be a lifeline if you are living with dementia. Singing involves not just hearing, but also sight, touch, and movement. The parts of the brain processing these survive relatively undamaged late into dementia, so, hearing familiar songs can often bring feelings and memories to life as vividly as ever.

Since March 2021 Dementia Friendly East Lothian (DFEL) has been delivering a singing project for residents within care homes, sheltered housing and the wider community; financially supported by the North Berwick Trust with gifts-in-kind from professional organisations.

On a monthly basis, local performers sang six well-known songs, around a timely theme, professionally recorded, edited, and uploaded onto our YouTube channel, with song sheets provided. A full package of singing entertainment available at any time of the day or night. We had six performances in total, ending with, what can only be described as, ‘A Truly Memorable Seaside Song’.

So, what makes a truly memorable seaside song? The short answer is that the lyrics of the song are quite literally from the memories that we gathered from the North Berwick community, residents of care homes and the North Berwick Day Centre.

We approached care and sheltered housing facilities to ask their activity coordinator or house manager to engage with the residents and ask them to share their memories of the sea, and the seaside. This project was very successful in two ways. It gave a focus for those in care settings and it allowed everyone to go back to those early memories of the seaside. We collected beautiful stories and even some poetry.

We then engaged with a local songwriter, Penny Stone, who took all the stories and memories and curated a song, which is a beautiful melody created to be part of the singalong programme. The song has two versions; the first where Penny teaches the chorus and one verse, and the second the full song with three versus and a chorus.

All our performances were fabulous, and the truly memorable seaside song is especially touching because it came from our community. Please share this song as widely as possible.