Millburn Academy pupils unite Councillors in support of people with Dementia

At the official opening
At the official opening

Issued by Alzheimer Scotland

Kelsie Beveridge, Shannan Braid, Abbi Gray, Ailsa Hewick, Emily Urquhart, Rachel Urquhart, Lottie Williams (Purple Performers)

Dementia Friendly drama group from Millburn Academy delivered a moving performance about dementia at the Council Chamber today [Thursday 29th June]. To their delight the kind hearted pupils then received a Dementia Friendly Community award for Millburn Academy in acknowledgement of the commitment they have made since becoming Dementia Friends in 2016.

Sponsored by Innes & Mackay, supported by drama teacher Suzanne Mackenzie and Gillian Councill, Dementia Adviser, Alzheimer Scotland the short performance was attended by Councilors as they made time over lunch in a busy day to see this unique and moving performance.

Rosemary Mackinnon, Principal Policy Officer – Equality sits on the Highland Council Dementia Friendly Working Group; “That was extremely powerful, very moving.  This was an ideal opportunity to highlight to all the members the work we are doing with The Highland Council Dementia Friendly Working Group.”

Following the moving performance Cllr Bill Lobban presented the pupils with an award for the school. The pupils were delighted and there were a few more tears as they accepted this recognition of their work.

Emily Urquhart from the Purple Performers (S3 Milburn) said; “It was nice to see how much it impacted everyone.  It was a little overwhelming to get the award from the Council and for them to recognise how much impact the performance has had on people. The short performance has such a simple message that everyone with dementia is an individual, with rich lives and stories.”

Bet McAllister who organized the performance said; “It wasn’t any easier to see the performance again, it is so emotional.  The Councillors were well warned that they would need a tissue for this uplifting performance. It was great to get the message out that people can live well with dementia if we support the individual and recognise their needs.”

The pupils became Dementia Friends in May 2016 then met regularly after school, learned more about dementia and developed this moving and poignant movement piece, set to music about a lady with dementia who is saddened by the loss of her memories. Through music her memories are triggered and she is able to recall significant life events.

Gillian Council, Dementia Adviser said: “I am so proud of the girls and the school for the support and understanding they have shown. We can all relate to the experience of music triggering a memory that allows us to revisit our past. The Purple Performers at Millburn Academy have taken their knowledge and understanding of this and created a moving interpretation of someone experiencing dementia.”

Dementia is the biggest health and social care challenge faced by society today. There are 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland and it is now estimated that 20,000 people will be diagnosed with the condition every year by 2020. If you have any questions about dementia and of the services available in your area call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24 Hour Helpline on 0808 808 3000.


29 Jun 2017