Opinions

Celebrating Caring, Friendship and Love

Written by: Irene Oldfather, Director of Strategic Partnerships, the ALLIANCE

Irene writes about the background to the ALLIANCE's upcoming Concert for Caring, which will be taking place on Saturday 6th April.

There are times in life when you just know you were meant to ‘bump’ into someone. Such was the day in July in Kilmarnock in 2011 when I was invited to an Alzheimer Scotland Carer’s event to speak about the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers in Scotland – work I had begun in Parliament as MSP for Cunninghame South.

There were other speakers – one in particular Mr Tommy Whitelaw caught my attention. He was showing a film about his walk around Scotland to gather letters and love stories about people’s experiences of caring for someone with Dementia. I was captivated by the story that he had to tell about caring for his mum Joan.

I loved the idea that Tommy was promoting about collecting people’s stories. It was different to anything I had come across.

What an amazing idea I thought. I should write Tommy a letter and share stories with him about caring for someone with Dementia and especially about the love of mothers – I should hear about his beautiful mum Joan and tell him about my beautiful mum Margaret. And thus a friendship of kindred spirits began.

So eight years later – several joint campaigns, a successful concert with Regular Music (this link will take you away from our website) and Eddi Reader in 2014 and engagement with thousands across the UK and Europe and here we are again announcing our Concert for Caring to celebrate caring across Scotland in all its forms. Except this time it’s even better than before!

Truth be told it could never happen without Tommy’s contacts, commitment and his absolute passion to make things better.

It couldn’t happen either without the amazing Mr Mark Mackie of Regular Music, Tommy’s lifelong friend who hides his great philanthropic commitment behind his music exterior but is essentially a Glasgow guy who is motivated and enthused by friendship and commitment.

In the course of concert planning I had the privilege to overhear and laugh with these long time friends including Grahame Skinner from HIPSWAY. Tales of the pick ups of band equipment in between the fruit market activity of day time jobs felt just so like the ‘People Make Glasgow’ slogan that we are all so proud of.

Sometimes we never quite know where early years friendships will take us – nor do we know how talents and skills will interweave but it’s actually so uplifting to watch something so creative and positive come from the efforts of three Glasgow boys.

So behind the scenes we have all been busy preparing – in fact if you believe in a higher power/karma call it what you will – the script was written 8 years ago – or in fact in the case of Tommy, Mark and Graham 25 years ago.

So please join us all – the ALLIANCE, Regular Music and the amazing bands in celebrating Carers across Scotland and in remembering the importance of friendship and family – mums, dads, sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles.

Come to our Concert for Caring and show your love and support. And most importantly, if you have a story of friendship and family that you’d like to share as part of our Concert for Caring please contact dementiacarervoices@alliance-scotland.org.uk

Thanks to HIPSWAY, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 and Regular Music for providing us with an allocation of free places for carers to attend the concert and reception. Tickets are now on sale for the general public on Ticketmaster (this link will take you away from our website).

Can’t wait to see you on April 6th!

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