Poetry fills book’s pages from Wymondham Dementia Support Group

Members of the Wymondham Demetia Support Group with their book, Poems from our Hearts. Picture, back

Members of the Wymondham Demetia Support Group with their book, Poems from our Hearts. Picture, back, left to right, Stephen Kerrison, Mandy Blackman, Jean Eaglen, Dave Gudgeon, front, Pippa Chapman, Ann Bennett and John Rogers - Credit: Archant

Love, loss and healing are some of themes explored in a new book of poetry produced by the Wymondham Dementia Support Group.

Called Poems from Our Hearts, the verses were written by people who either suffer from dementia, or care for loved ones who do.

The book has been published thanks to a grant from the EDP Community Chest programme, which is giving away a total of £100,000 throughout 2016 to support worthwhile projects.

Pippa Chapman, from the group, co-ordinated the publication.

Mrs Chapman said poetry had a powerful effect.

She said: 'Most of the people who have poems in here haven't written any poetry since they were in school, and have found it to be a huge help and release.

'It enables them to recall happy times from the past and share them with other people. It also allows them to put into words some of the pain and difficulty they have been through in their lives.'

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The book includes poems by 16 people, many of whom are members of the dementia support group's Poems Please group which meets once a month to share the verses they have written.

One of the poets, John Rogers, 79, from Deopham, said he wrote poems in memory of his wife, Barbara, who died in October last year.

Mr Rogers said: 'I wrote about the onset of dementia in my wife and what it meant to me. It's about the journey of dementia.

'She had it for eight years and when we started there was no support at all, so I am so glad this group is here now.'

Mr Rogers said he remembered a time his wife could recognise him or their grandchildren, which was devastating.

He said writing poetry and taking with others at the support group had helped him heal.

He said: 'It's such a support when you can talk frankly to other people about what you're going through. It really helps to talk to others.'

But not all of the poems have heartbreaking themes. Many deal with happy memories, friends and reflections on countryside pleasure.

Another contributor, Ann Bennett, said she wrote about a memory of her granddaughter.

She said: 'I had the grandchildren up one time and there were bees all around the onion plant. I will always remember her face when she saw them.'

Mrs Chapman said some of the poems would also be recorded by the Wymondham and Attleborough Talking Newspaper group.

The book is available from Kett's Books in Wymondham or directly from the dementia support group, which meets on Fridays at the Fairland Church Centre, Fairland Hill, Wymondham.

The book will be launched at the official opening of a new dementia-friendly garden beside Fairland United Reformed Church on July 1.