My surprise platinum party celebration

Norrms McNamara: Thank you for the music

Norman McNamara

As you have probably read in the paper, I was lucky enough to receive and be awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Volunteer Award for my services to dementia awareness.

Sadly, I was unable to go because of my illness but have to thank Jim Parker and this wonderful paper for the write-up and picture.

Yes, it was true, I was devastated by not being able to go, and I hate this disease of dementia even more because of it – if that’s possible – but little did I know that wouldn’t stop my wonderful family and friends rallying round and organising my very own surprise  – a platinum party which I will now tell you about.

I have always said because we have the best team of volunteers in the world, and because I am getting worse now, they have taken over running the first week of the memory café for us to give us a break and a weekend off, the other weekend being the fore mentioned.

So, as I pottered in my garden, feeding my plants and looking forward to the afternoon, I had planned to go to the garden centre for some more compost and do some potting on in the afternoon.

We had a lovely cup of tea in the local garden centre after buying what we wanted, when on the way back Elaine said she had to call into the memory café to drop some paperwork off for a night out at the theatre we had arranged for our members – free, of course.

I have to say I wasn’t too happy about it but said to Elaine to make sure we are only two minutes as it is our day off.

Well, as we walked into the memory café, it was full of family and friends alike, the walls and tables dressed with bunting, party poppers being let off.

I was so very overwhelmed and so emotional – as well as shocked to my boots – and their singing at the front was the wonderful Lea Millman and my great friend Gilly Barton singing the song ‘Thank You For The Music’ which referred to the free MP3s we give to all with dementia in Torbay and all over the UK.

I swear I was speechless which, as anybody who knows me will verify, is almost impossible for me! I felt so loved.

To have my family and grandchildren there also was a huge honour for me and apparently the little ones had been helping out all day and working very hard.

As I finally got hold of a microphone, the first words out my mouth when I could eventually speak were: “Elaine, you, are in so much trouble!”

Everybody had come together to make cakes, homemade cards and such a wonderful day was had.

Hopefully, it will be one I will never forget.

I have to say there are also so many people who were not there, whom we should never, ever forget, and they are the original members of the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance who were with us right at the very beginning before we changed our name to Purple Angel and who stood side by side with us when all said we couldn’t do what we did, but we did it anyway, and proved them all wrong.

We are where we are now because of their hard work and commitment.

So from the bottom of my heart, to all volunteers, past and present, no matter what happens in the future you will all have a place in my heart and a place in TDAA and Purple Angel history.

Written by Norrms McNamara, founder of the Purple Angel dementia awareness campaign.