Tony Christie performs at dementia-friendly service

Tony Christie at Lichfield Cathedral
Tony Christie performed at Lichfield Cathedral during a dementia-friendly service [BBC]

Singer Tony Christie has performed at a packed cathedral as part of a dementia-friendly service being filmed for BBC’s Songs of Praise.

The Amarillo singer performed a number of his hits in front of more than 250 guests during the event at Lichfield Cathedral on Tuesday.

Mr Christie, who has lived in the city for almost 20 years, revealed in January 2023 that he had been diagnosed with dementia.

He told BBC Midlands Today: “When I was first diagnosed with it, it was my wife who noticed I had problems doing my crosswords which I’ve done for 60 or 70 years.”

But he said it had so far not affected his musical memory or his ability to sing.

“I’m still singing as good as I ever did. It’s in my soul…I was born with it,” he said.

His wife Sue added: "And it helps everyone."

Tony and Sue Christie
Mr Christie said his wife Sue noticed his early signs of dementia [BBC]

The cathedral regularly hosts dementia-friendly services and for this event it teamed up with charity Music for Dementia.

The organisation campaigns to make music an integral part of dementia care, highlighting the positive effects it can have on people who have been diagnosed.

Rev Canon Dr David Primrose, of Lichfield Cathedral, said: “Dementia causes parts of the brain not to function so well and the part of speech goes before the part of singing.

“Very often people are able to engage in singing where they may find trouble in talking. So singing can bring people into communication, joy, emotion and all the vitality that goes with that.”

Rev Kate Bottley
Vicar and presenter Rev Kate Bottley attended the service [BBC]

Vicar and TV presenter Rev Kate Bottley was also at the service and said the cathedral was a place that belonged to everybody “of all faiths and none”.

“This is a place of welcome and generosity and you can come just as you are. You don’t need to pretend you’re something you’re not,” she said.

“We will love you and accept you just that way.”

The episode of Songs of Praise is due to be broadcast on 12 May ahead of Dementia Action Week.

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