“Makes carers happy as well as our loved ones” (Group participant, North Norfolk).
“My husband hasn’t been able to speak on the ‘phone for months but he ‘phoned his brother this week!” (Wife of participant with Parkinson’s, North Walsham Skylarks group).
“I’ve just celebrated my 83rd birthday. Until about 2005 when I was 70 my health was reasonably good. I enjoyed singing and had sung in church choirs and performed in amateur drama. Then I began to have problems with my throat and developed a paralyzed vocal chord together with a dodgy parathyroid gland which had to be removed by surgery.
These problems caused me difficulties in singing and speaking and swallowing. Speaking became a problem because of the difficulties of learning how and when to breathe, I developed various techniques in swallowing and breathing. I would easily run out of breath when talking to anyone and for five months I was unable to swallow and fed myself through a tube!
Then in February this year a friend mentioned that the British Lung Foundation held support meetings in our local Community Centre in Sheringham. I went along one afternoon and met Tina Blaber-Wegg who leads a singing group once a week for anyone experiencing lung problems of any kind which were sponsored by the B L F. I sat in that first session where we carried out simple relaxation and exercises and singing and I enjoyed it so much that began to attend her group throughout much of the year until the end of August when my wife and I decided to re-locate back to Sussex to be nearer our family. I shall miss these sessions very much and hope I can find a similar one there. Tina is an excellent teacher, she brings much enthusiasm and pleasure and above all, fun!. I have found myself singing a varied reportoire from Nancy Sinatra’s “These boots are made for walking” and Tom Jone’s “Why why Delilah” (I got the group to sing Jemima!) to Bob Dillon and Glen Miller, sea shanties and music hall songs! And all this for just a donation of £3 per week!
Tina’s group is attended by people of all ages, one gentleman is 91, one lady has Parkinson’s and one lady plays the violin, another the guitar, it’s a very varied lovely group of very friendly people. And sometimes we have cake at the end!
But the main advantage to me has been the vast improvement in my speaking since joining Tina’s group every Friday afternoon. My family have been amazed at the improvement I have made.
My consultant referred me to a speech therapist who on learning that I attended this group said that it was the best therapy I could have done! The consultant agreed and tells me that the paralyzed chord has begun to compensate and grow! I cannot praise or recommend Tina’s singing group enough, she has improved my life immensely. Thank-you Tina and the British Lung Foundation.”
RB, Singing for Health group (Fridays, Sheringham Community Centre), 26th August 2018
“In January 2005 I contracted pneumonia and was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. I stayed in intensive care for a week, followed by 3 weeks on the wards. As I learned to walk again, recovery seemed a long way ahead.
I had been diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and also diabetes Type 2 and Psoriasis. My doctor recommended the Breathe Easy Support Group at Sheringham, which I joined and I did the rehab course (organised by the Respiratory Care Team at Kelling Hospital). From there I progressed to attending weekly gym sessions and monthly support meetings.
It was suggested to me to attend Playing for Cake sessions on Fridays to sing. Seeing as I had last sung when I was young in the church choir, I didn’t hold out much hope! But then I met Tina and the crew and everything seemed to open up for me. Not only did Tina assure me that I did have a voice but that it would be good for me and my breathing. And so it proved me wrong and my confidence has grown so much that I now play ukulele on Mondays and also at the Hub for Wednesday ‘Mid-Week Music’ sessions.
So in 4 years from nothing to being busy most of the week, I have made many friends and gained a voice!!“
M.R., Cromer, May 2019.