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Dementia group holds seaside day to relive memories of the beach

PUBLISHED: 16:12 25 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:12 25 June 2019

Group enjoying the day at the beached themed event. Wendy Tompkins (middle left) and Sarah Fisher, manager at Downham Dementia cafe (middle right).

Group enjoying the day at the beached themed event. Wendy Tompkins (middle left) and Sarah Fisher, manager at Downham Dementia cafe (middle right).

Archant

A dementia support group held a fun day of activities at a beach themed event.

Group enjoys fun day of games and activities at beach themed event.Group enjoys fun day of games and activities at beach themed event.

It might be situated miles inland, but that did not stop Downham Market's dementia group from bringing the beach to town in a bid to spark memories of coastal holidays.

The Downham Dementia Support Association held a fun day of activities to help attendees socialise and relive days and memories of being at the beach.

Held at Downham Market Methodist Church on Monday, June 24, people dressed ready for the beach and took part in themed games, bingo and painting.

Joan Alfred, chairman of Downham Dementia Support Association, said: "It is important for these events to go on, it helps those affected by dementia to get out and take part in something that brings people together, otherwise they would be left in their houses alone.

Group enjoys fun day of activities at beach themed event.Group enjoys fun day of activities at beach themed event.

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"We provide games and crafts and each month we have a visitor- sometimes a singer, manicurist or reflexologist.

"The group has around 24 couples who come on a regular basis and new couples often come and some leave because their partners have gone into care or died.

"Carers continue to come to the cafe after losing their partner as they value the support and the space to share their problems or difficulties with one another."

Group enjoys day at beach themed event. Pictured: Sarah Fisher, manager at the Dementia Cafe and Jordan Pywell with his Wheely Sweet cart.Group enjoys day at beach themed event. Pictured: Sarah Fisher, manager at the Dementia Cafe and Jordan Pywell with his Wheely Sweet cart.

The group, which started in 2014, aims to include those affected by dementia through social activities and clubs. The first dementia cafe opened in October 2015 and has grown over the years, with 25 volunteers providing support.

Wendy Tompkins, 76, a regular at the Downham dementia cafe, said: "I would be totally lost if it wasn't for this. I've been coming to this group for around three years now, the carers have been good to me.

"If I wasn't here I would be at home sleeping or doing a bit of hoovering and washing up.

The grandmother-of-five, who has lived in Downham all her life, started coming with her husband, who has dementia. He now lives in a care home but Mrs Tompkins continues to attend for the support and social activity. She said: "I love it here, everyone is friendly and I get to meet and speak with people."

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