Grandmother inspires song on the impact of dementia
- Credit: Archant
As a child Ellie Hitchcock-Wyatt would look forward to finishing school so she could pop round to her gran's and watch The Simpsons.
She and her twin brother Tom spent many happy times with Bridget Iver, whom they affectionately called 'Granny B', and fond memories were created.
But while 19-year old Miss Hitchock-Wyatt still sees her gran most days, the relationship has changed because Mrs Iver, 81, now lives with an advanced form of dementia.
The diagnosis, made three years ago, has made a big impression on Miss Hitchcock-Wyatt, who decided to write a song about the impact the condition has had on her and the family.
She is set to perform the song, entitled Bitter Maze, the day before the official launch of a scheme that aims to make Norwich a dementia-friendly city.
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Miss Hitchcock-Wyatt, who performs under the stage name Ellie Bea, said: 'When we were told gran had dementia it was devastating.
'We suspected it prior to the diagnosis and I know she knew what was happening as well.'
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Miss Hitchcock-Wyatt, of Grove Walk, Norwich, felt compelled to write the song as a way of expressing her thoughts and feelings towards her gran, who lives on the same road.
'Bitter Maze says everything that I want to say to my Granny B but can't,' she said.
'The pain of watching her suffer makes me feel like I'm dying inside. But what I want to say to her is: 'I understand. I'm here for you. Every step of the way. Right until the end. You are not alone. I will love you always.''
She will perform the song, while playing her keyboard, at a concert in Norwich next week featuring young musicians from across Norfolk.
'It took me a couple of times to get the song right in the way that I wanted it,' she said.
'It took time for me to figure out what I wanted to say.
'Gran is a second mum to me. She always came to every single school function, and she would always be there supporting us with everything we did.'
Mrs Iver, who now receives frequent care at home by professionals and her familiy, was originally born in Jamaica and worked as a doctor.
Susan Ringwood, chief executive of Age UK Norwich, said: 'This song is a beautiful interpretation of dementia and it will help us to raise awareness of the many affects dementia has on the individual and their family.'
The song will be performed at OPEN's Access the Future event on Tuesday (7pm).
Other performers, who are all aged between 14-19, include The Revelation Brothers, Maya Law, Fingers Crossed, and Tuesday Club.
Tickets are £5. Doors open at 7pm.
• Have you got a dementia story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org