Jenny England is taking part in Alzheimer Scotland’s Memory Walk 2023 in memory of her mother, renowned Scottish author Joan Lingard, who died with dementia in summer 2022. Joan Lingard published over 60 books, including 40 for children and young adults. Jenny is hosting her very own ‘Song Walk’ in Oban on Sunday 17 September. 

By Jenny England

"It’s been just over a year since my mum died and it still feels quite raw and I miss her a lot; we were very close. We’ve just had a lovely commemorative event for her at the Edinburgh Book Festival. 
 I was looking for ways to celebrate Mum and Scotland’s Memory Walk felt like a meaningful way to do that. I’m doing a ‘Song Walk’ because that’s what we did every day for the last two years of her life. She never sang before she developed dementia, but all through the pandemic, over WhatsApp and in person, we sang together even when we couldn’t be together. We may not have sung well, but we sang happily!

"We had some beautiful times together. The most important thing was being able to have fun in the moment. I’m doing a PhD on Music, Movement and Dementia inspired by my experiences with Mum and it’s wonderful to see how music can help people to communicate and to stay more connected with those around them. I particularly saw that with Mum during the lockdowns. 

"We desperately need more support for people and families living with dementia in rural areas, such as here in Argyll & Bute – that’s my other reason for raising money through Scotland’s Memory Walk.  We need to explore lots of different ways to help people living in remote communities. I’m also recruiting people to take part in my research on the impact of listening and moving to music for people with dementia and those closest to them; I’m particularly keen to get participants from remote and rural parts of Scotland. 

"I hope other people in the Oban area can join me on my Song Walk on 17 September, so we can fill the streets with music, laughter and happy memories of the people we love."

Find out more about Jenny's memory walk here. 
To find out more about Jenny’s research, email: [email protected] 

Jenny and her mum Memory Walk
Jenny with her mum Joan