Dementia charity donation celebrates Josephine’s life of song

Dementia charity donation celebrates Josephine’s life of song

SOUTH Yorkshire dementia charity Lost Chord has received a £500 donation in memory of a former Sheffield woman who gave her life to music.

Lost Chord is the organisation that provides vital interactive musical experiences for people living with dementia in care homes and day centres, both across the region and nationally. And the family of Josephine Andrews, who began her life of song in Sheffield, wanted her legacy to be the continued gift of music.

Son Steve explained: “My mum was a soprano opera singer who came from the worst poverty that 1920s Sheffield could have thrown at anyone.

“Her mother Sally Moore was a well-known pub singer in the city and when she died in 1944 there six wreaths at her funeral, all from public houses.

“Mum was a natural singer too but was too poor to afford singing lessons, though she was helped by some tutors who spotted her talent and eventually, she secured an audition with John Barbirolli, which led to her singing for the Halle Choir.”

Josephine gave up any professional ambitions to have a family of her own but she then resumed singing with amateur companies and performing in care homes after relocating to Lancashire, only stopping in her final years when she faced a short but terrifying battle with vascular dementia which ended in her death in November 2015.

“Her singing career was her pride and joy and every visitor to her flat, irrespective of the purpose of their visit, would have to go through her treasured photo book of musical memories,” said Steve. And it was because of her love of music that, following her death, Steve decided he had to make a donation to Lost Chord.

“Although her care ate up much of her savings, she left some money to be split between her four children,” he said. “I wanted some of that money to go to something that involved music and Sheffield and it wasn’t long before I found Lost Chord, the icing on the cake being that the charity perform in care homes, just as I used to see mum go out to do when I was a kid.

“Ironically, I’ve ended up working as an administrator myself in a complex needs care home, so I see first-hand the effects of dementia and other mental illnesses every working day.” Lost Chord chief executive Helena Muller commented: “This is a wonderfully moving story and I am sure Josephine would have been so proud to know that her legacy went to helping other people living with dementia.

“On behalf of all at Lost Chord and indeed all the people this donation will help I would like to give our most sincere thanks – it is because of the generosity and support of people like Steve and his family that we are able to maintain our programme of events and bring music into the lives of the people who need it most.”

To find out more about the work of Lost Chord and how to get involved call 01709 811160