Saturday, 22 August 2015

My personal thanks to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

This  post was a about a very Private visit to our house a month to the day before mum passed away and I thought I would re- post today - The day mum had a very special visitor 

My campaign is about life stories and understanding and the post below is about time understanding and kindness 

I thank the first minster from my heart for the kindness we felt that day thank you for holding my mums hand ,and continue to do so 

A blog post from August 22nd 2012


we had a visitor at home Yesterday (we don’t get many) the Deputy First  and cabinet secretary for health Nicola Sturgeon came to visit and meet my mum a very private and personal visit 

It was a very private visit  and the fulfillment of a promise made when we last met to discuss the letters I receive .I am grateful as I have spent a lot of time over the last year discussing my mums life in public on my quest  to raise awareness 

 I first contacted the DFM  over a year ago to tell her of my plans to collect life stories and she promised if I did she would  invite me speak at parliament and take time to read the letters I collected  .

A few months back When we met as I handed over letters , the DFM  asked if she could meet my mum in private at home  
The  MUM behind my campaign As mum is  the biggest part of my life and personal reason I campaign

 I am happy to say that promise was fulfilled  

A private visit a private discussion a very moving and emotional visit .Hearing mums voice as she counted to five holding the DFM hand was a very emotional moment as mum speaking at this time was very rare and I missed her voice so much 

With  mums health and being so frail she is unable to come with me on my talks ,
when I had the privilege of handing over letters and speaking in one of the rooms at the Scottish Parliament last year  I was proud to do so and wished my mum could have been there.Today part of the Scottish Parliament came to meet my mum  in her home and the biggest part of my life and tour was the biggest part of a special day 

With thanks to the DFM for reading our life stories and keeping the promises she has made this son to date and for taking time to meet the mum behind this campaign 

Thank you from a son 


With great thank you DFM for coming to address Carers at pre - concert reception Monday  

Monday, 17 August 2015

Dementia Carer Voices August newsletter is now available

Welcome to the latest edition of the Dementia Carer Voices Project's newsletter, which will keep you up to date with our latest activity.
This month's highlights include Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw's Honorary Master of the University, a fantastic opportunity to trial a new app designed to support people living with dementia, their family and carers and some great guest contributions to our Dementia Carer Voices blog site.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The people you love - make sure you tell them every day -

After 5 years of caring for my mum I am well used to the ups,downs and setbacks that it life would bring.  The trouble is that now when I’m feeling a bit down my best pal who I relied on is no longer here.

Even in the toughest days during our struggle mum made me strong and some of that strength is now gone. I speak about my magnificent wee mum all the time at meetings and awareness talks. 

Sometimes I want to cry when I speak about her and other times I smile , the trouble with that is that behind the smile, never far away is the memory of a struggle, the helplessness I felt so often and behind the tears is pain in my heart that feels like it might never leave. I was discussing recovery the other day with someone; I should look it up in a dictionary because sometimes it feels like the most impossible task. I just miss my mum I miss her smile, kindness, care, guidance and friendship.

If you love someone make sure you tell them, if you care for someone make sure you tell them, if you value someone make sure tell them, you might just change their day 

don’t ever leave it till you no longer can.  I told my mum every day how much I loved her even when mum no longer knew my name and I WISH she was here tonight so I could tell her one more time

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Guest post from Julia Jones: John’s Campaign

With great thanks to Julia Jones for today’s guest post on John’s Campaign, which is asking hospitals to commit to allowing carers to be with their loved ones at any time, and not just strict visiting hours. Julia cares for her mother June who is living with dementia, and speaks movingly about Dr John Gerrard who the campaign is named after. You can keep up to date with the latest developments in the campaign by following them on twitter  @JohnCampaign

Tommy’s love for his mother Joan Whitelaw – and his grief at her slow dying from vascular dementia – changed his life and now he is changing the lives of others. “You can make a difference” he says. We can’t cure dementia but any one of us has the individual power to make life either better or worse for the people and families who are struggling with this cruel illness.
Nicci Gerrard on holiday with her father, John, in Sweden last year.
My friend Nicci Gerrard’s love for her father changed her life. Dr John Gerrard had Alzheimer’s but was coping okay in his own home, with the support of his family, until he was admitted to hospital to have his leg ulcers treated – and his family were not able to visit, because of hospital restrictions. “My father entered hospital articulate and able, he came out a broken man,” wrote Nicci after her father died in November 2014. She made a pledge that she would campaign to persuade hospitals to change their rules and allow carers to be with the people they love whenever they are needed, 24/7 if necessary.
My mother June has Alzheimers and vascular dementia but she is 91 and still living. Of course her life is not easy – there are so many Julia and Junethings she can’t do any more and she’s often confused and frightened. But we manage to have good times when I take her to a riding stable or onto the river in a boat. I am determined that she will never suffer alone in hospital as John Gerrard suffered. I knew him. He was a good man, a caring man.
So I’m working with Nicci on John’s Campaign which is how I met Tommy and heard his story and the story of Joan Whitelaw. And I told him the story of John Gerrard and June Jones to add to all those other stories of grief and loss and bravery and the wish to make things better.
Thank you Tommy for giving me this opportunity to tell people about John’s Campaign. You are travelling the country making a difference. We haven’t reached so far – particularly to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.. The Observer newspaper is going to set up a website telling people which are the compassionate hospitals where carers are made welcome. Too late for John Gerrard and Joan Whitelaw but maybe in time for my mum, June Jones? It’ll open fully on July 26th 2015 – with a list of the first ten hospitals.  Here’s the link We’ll be adding hospitals everyweek after that – by Novemeber 2016 we want every Trust in the country on that list.
If you’re reading this and you’re working in a hospital that lets families stay with their loved ones, could you please get in touch @JohnCampaign or by email and share your good practice on the Observer website? But if you’re in a hospital that shuts people out when their love is most needed –  please can you begin persuading for change?

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Wednesday Speaking Anam Cara Dementia Respite Services 2pm


With great thanks to Claire Mills, who is the manager of Anam Cara Dementia Respite Services for the kind invite to speak to at the centre on August 12th ( both Claire and my own birthdays ) 

I have had the great pleasure to speak there before and look forward to returning as part of my make a difference tour  
Anam Cara Ayrshire:
The Make a Difference campaign has been taken forward by many individuals who have shared the campaign and actively encouraged others to do so. Claire Mills, who is the manager of Anam Cara Dementia Respite Services has organised an incredible day to inspire people to make a pledge to make a difference.
They have arranged to host an afternoon tea session where Tommy will give an awareness talk and people will then have a chance to ask questions but in a more relaxed and informal setting. To make room for their adapted housing, the centre had to have cherry trees cut down, and are using the wood from these trees to make  hiring a woodcarver to make a huge jigsaw spelling out Anam Cara with each letter made up of engraved pledges, celebrating their commitment to making a difference and encouraging people to participate
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Another busy week 5 #Talks - Darlington - Giffnock - Possillpark-Southern General Hospital


Another busy week 5 #Talks - Darlington - Giffnock - Possillpark - Southern General   


My wee tour continues this week with 4 talks which is talk,I am now at talks 289 of 364 on my ' Make a Difference tour that  startled middle of last year 

My first talk this week will be Monday in Darlington With Great thanks to Jo Rogerson Modern Matron West Park Hospital for the kind invite to speak at a series of workshops being held West Park Hospital Monday will be my 5th talk of 5there 

On Tuesday I have two talks East Renfrewshire CHCP. Dickie Building, Burnfield Rd, Giffnock,the first talk will be to AHPs,District Nurses,CPN's and then to students who are on placement at the health centre,with great thanks to Fiona Ralph,Team Lead/Advanced Nurse Practitioner,East Renfrewshire CHCP for the invite and arraigning 

Wednesday I have kindly been invited to speak at Possillpark  connections group .A big thank you to Sandra Barber Health Improvement Senior- Anticipatory Care for the invite to speak at the group meeting 

Finally on Thursday I have been invited to speak at The Southern General Hospital patient and carer core group. With great thanks to Yvonne Neilson Health Improvement Senior-Long Term Conditions Public Health Directorate for invited me along to speak at the hospital reference group meeting 

Thank you to all of the above I am very honored to be invited and looking forward to meeting everyone this week 

Thank you 


Sunday, 2 August 2015

4500 people have now personally pledged -You Can read Every Pledge Here

A massive thank you 4500  people have now Personally  Pledge commitment to Make a Difference for people living with dementia and their Family and carers on my tour and our Project campaign

I have personally  had the great privilege to meet so many amazing, caring, inspiring people in person on my tour across the country on twitter and via our Dementia Carer voices Blog and my own TommyOnTour blog.

We are truly inspired by the people the pledges the commitment and the inspiring pledge trees appearing in hospitals ,care home ,universities and workplaces all across the country 

We are very inspired by the pledges, the different ways so many people are taking the pledges forward and embedding them into practice with great desire from all to make a difference.

 You can read every pledge received at the links below !  

You can read some of the Case Studies Here ,

Thank you from a son, you can read every pledge and meet ever Difference Maker via the links below 



26/27.01.15 Warrington Borough Council 

January 2014 

We began the campaign by asking “What does caring mean to you?”
19.02.14 NHS Fife
(08 -10).04.14 NHS Dumfries & Galloway 
3/4.06.14 NHS Conference
27.06.14 BCDA Birmingham

NHSAAA The People The Pledges The tour - 13 talks July - August                                               
01.09.14  Teesside University

30.09.14 Thank you for your pledges!

13.10.14 More Pledges
03.11.14 Online pledges
07.11.14 Burton Hospital
13.11.14  Pledges of the week
24.11.14 The Retreat York
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

My mums name was Joan ,my Mum Had Dementia - our Story 9 Short Films

Tommy’s speech, providing a carer’s perspective,  on the theme of “ No – one ever asked   ” highlighted the transformational impact that ...