Scouting for Girls frontman Roy Stride
Scouting for Girls frontman Roy Stride

Celebrities invite people in Harrogate to join virtual sing-a-long to beat Covid-19 blues

26 April 2020

Yorkshire actor John Middleton is among celebrities inviting people from Harrogate to unite in song for a special sing-a-long live on Facebook to beat the coronavirus blues.

Alzheimer’s Society will broadcast a national ‘Singing for the Brain’ session that is open to anyone and everyone on its Facebook platform on Thursday 30 April, at 3pm.

From Fly Me to the Moon, to Singin’ in the Rain, the one-off Facebook session will include some fun warm-ups and renditions of old classics that audiences can join in with from home to experience the power of music together with people living with dementia across the country.

John Middleton
John Middleton

John Middleton, of Harrogate, said:

I have supported the work of Alzheimer’s Society ever since I played Vicar Ashley Thomas in Emmerdale, who was diagnosed with young-onset vascular dementia.

It was a powerful storyline – and a dream role for any actor. Having walked away from it in 2017, I can’t walk away from the issue.

Dementia affects too many people and is too important to ignore, which is why I have continued to champion the charity’s work at events such as Memory Walk.

Now, more than ever, people living with dementia face social isolation and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Singing for the Brain going viral is a wonderful concept, and a great way for people with the condition and their carers to engage in an activity that is both mentally stimulating and good for overall well-being.

It’s heartening to see Alzheimer’s Society going to such lengths to ensure people stay engaged and mentally active at this difficult time, and I urge everyone to join me in taking part in the public online session on Thursday.

Alzheimer's Society Ambassador Vicky McClure
Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Vicky McClure

The initiative is also being backed by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Vicky McClure and Scouting for Girls frontman Roy Stride.

Line of Duty star Vicky, whose grandmother had dementia, will join the online session, whilst Roy, whose mother had early-onset dementia and John will be tuning in with the public and singing along.

Vicky said:

People affected by dementia are finding it tough in these surreal times and support provided by Alzheimer’s Society is needed now more than ever before.

Music and singing are fantastic activities for people living with dementia, and I am so excited that Alzheimer’s Society is bringing a Singing for the Brain session direct to people across the UK that is open to all.

I hope everyone at home will join people affected by dementia by warming up their vocal chords and taking part in the session next Thursday 30 April.

People can vote in advance for their favourite songs to be considered for inclusion via a Facebook poll. The page can be accessed via

Music and social interaction has a hugely positive impact on mood, and since the coronavirus pandemic has prevented groups from happening face-to-face, Alzheimer’s Society has launched the service online to bring hundreds of people living with dementia together every week to experience the benefits of music together during the lockdown.

In Harrogate, the Singing for the Brain virtual Zoom sessions will take place weekly starting on  Monday 27 April between 2pm and  3pm

Louise Morgan, Alzheimer’s Society Services Manager for the area, said:

Singing for the Brain is one of the many services that Alzheimer’s Society offers to people affected by dementia. It brings people living with the condition and their carers together to sing a variety of songs they know and love, with fun vocal exercises that help improve brain activity and increase wellbeing.

The coronavirus pandemic poses a huge risk to people with dementia. Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line is hearing from people unable to get essential care, confused by losing their much-needed routines, concerned that their family member’s symptoms are increasing and their health deteriorating because of a lack of social contact.  Carers are feeling isolated and struggling to get respite.

Evidence shows that music can help improve and support mood, alertness and engagement of people with dementia, with research* showing that musical memory is often retained when other memories are lost. Music can help people to recall memories due to the nature of preserved memory for song and music in the brain.

By making the Singing for the Brain session available to everyone online on 30 April, as a national event, Alzheimer’s Society hopes that people will join in to make a difference to the lives of people living with dementia, and ensure they know they aren’t alone.

Helen Foster, Director of Operations at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

It is vital that Alzheimer’s Society is there to offer support for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, including an estimated 2,571 in Harrogate.

They the face potential isolation during the pandemic, so we must make sure they know they aren’t alone.

Please donate to our Emergency Appeal to ensure that our Dementia Connect Support line can continue, and that vital services like Singing for the Brain can be available to improve lives and to help people stay connected and remain part of their community.

Anyone wishing to donate to Alzheimer’s Society’s Emergency Appeal, can visit

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