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Acclaimed artist leads ‘Lancashire Not Forgotten’ memory sessions

A Lancashire-wide project will capture the memories of people living with dementia in two new pieces of textile artwork.

Internationally-acclaimed artist, Morwenna Catt, will be interpreting people’s memories at three free events, aimed at capturing accounts of Burnley people’s working lives, as part of the ‘Lancashire Not Forgotten’ project. The two pieces of artwork created will be exhibited later this year.

Along the three themes of where we live, work and play, the project aims to record and save the memories of people living with dementia, prevent them from being lost, and preserve them for the future.

Delivered jointly between Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Blackpool Council, the project will run until October.

The memory sessions will take place as follows:

• Monday 27 February at the Mechanics Institute, Burnley from 1.30pm – 3.30pm. Limited places are available, so booking is essential.
• Thursday 13 April at the Mechanics Institute, Burnley from 1.30pm – 3.30pm. Limited places are available, so booking is essential.
• Monday 15 May at Burnley Library. Time to be confirmed – please email for more details.

The project will involve staff from libraries, museums and archives across the three councils working together.

The project has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £49,000.

County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “This is a superb opportunity for people to unlock, revive and record memories from their lives, and be able to share them with their family or with others in the future.

“Sometimes we just don’t realise what lovely memories we have, or how important they are. This project will make sure they are recorded and preserved forever.

“Losing your cherished memories is one of the most upsetting aspects of dementia, so being able to reminisce and talk about parts of their life can be very beneficial to anyone living with this condition.

“There are also people who may have dementia, but are not aware of it, and this new project is one of the ways for us to create a dementia-friendly Lancashire and make sure that people get support, in a variety of ways, to help them live well with the condition.

“It would be great if people in Burnley could share their memories of their working lives, so that we can have a really rich first-hand account.”

Many old photographs and objects will be available at the events to prompt memories. Visitors are also welcome to bring along any of their own photographs to talk about.

There are currently over 10,000 people in Lancashire who have been diagnosed with dementia, but it is estimated that the actual number of people with the condition is much higher.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “The Lancashire Not Forgotten project includes everyday life, work and play, as well as the local heritage connecting the present to the past. People living in Burnley are being asked to remember their working lives.

“I’m sure that the textile artwork that Morwenna produces will be a great reflection of people’s memories, stimulated by these events.”

People sharing their memories and stories may be recorded on film and audio as part of the project. Photographs from personal collections will also be made available. Life stories will also be recorded in a shared digital archive through the project.

Friends and relatives who may have noticed changes in the memory or behaviour of someone they know can find information, advice and support by visiting www.lancashire.gov.uk/dementia

For more information about the sessions or to book a place email glynischarlton@gmail.com

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