Enjoy a walk through memories
Sometimes you get involved in a project that doesn’t quite live up to expectations.
Sometimes it is just downright disappointing.
But sometimes, if everyone pulls together and maybe there is a sprinkle of good fortune along the way, a project can work out far better than you can ever have imagined.
Dear readers, I present to you the Forget-Me-Not Walk at West Suffolk Hospital.
The Walk was the brainchild of the My WiSH Charity and the dementia team at the hospital as part of the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign.
It is a 100-metre corridor full of iconic local and national images, allowing patients, staff and visitors to walk around and discuss what memories are evoked. This form of reminiscence has been proven to provide calm and comfort to patients with dementia.
I can remember my first week as fundraising manager at the hospital when I was told that dementia was to be a forthcoming priority.
I have to admit I was a little uncertain about a campaign around dementia. Two years ago, it was still largely a taboo subject and I didn’t actually know anyone who had dementia or had been affected by it. I quickly realised I was in the minority.
I felt it was important to entwine a fundraising ask with raising awareness of dementia and challenging and changing perceptions. Quite simply, getting more and more people talking openly about it.
In the end, we had nothing to worry about as our generous local community took the campaign to its heart.
The £25,000 initial target was raised within nine months, it now stands at more than £95,000 and rising.
But it also became so much more than simple pounds and pence. It allowed people who had been touched by dementia a local platform to give something back, to say thank you or to simply help.
It gave them, and us, a perfect opportunity to really highlight dementia, the issues around it and the support available to families – both in the hospital and in the community.
The other reason was the reputation and love the hospital has across the West Suffolk community. Fundraising for a hospital is a very good indicator of how highly it is regarded.
This generosity was then shown by the amount of companies and individuals who wanted to support the Forget-Me-Not Walk through donating rare and striking images that raised a memory and smile in equal measure.
Take a walk around a 100-metre stretch of the hospital corridors, close to the Diabetes Centre, Breast Care Unit, physio department and wards G4 and G5, and something will stop you in your tracks.
It might be the full array of iconic images from across the West Suffolk spectrum.
Or on the other side of the corridor, it might be national images where Torvill and Dean sit next to Princess Diana and Only Fools and Horses leads on to photos of old skateboards, disco balls, Elvis and the Coronation.
The Walk officially opens today and it simply wouldn’t have been possible without the kind-hearted community in which I am proud to live and work in.
Thank-you one and all for playing such an integral part in this very important project.