We are excited to introduce you to our lovely group of carers who were lucky enough to record the Thank You Day anthem, ‘Thank You For Being A Friend’ with Tony Christie (and a few other famous friends – all of whom will be revealed soon!), in collaboration with Music for Dementia.
But don’t worry, there are many opportunities for you too to get involved and sing-a-long too! Head to our music section for all the latest links and downloadable, including lyrics, a karaoke backing track and more.
Graeme Sutherland 31 from Glasglow, Scotland
Graeme Sutherland is a popular TikTok influencer and has used the platform to help carers feel less isolated and lonely. He started out on TikTok while caring for his mother who lives with dementia, but continues to make content while she is in residential care. Proving social media can be a great source for good, many people reach out to Graeme for advice on being a carer. He’s particularly excited to be involved as his mum is a fan of the original 1978 song.
Zoe Antoniades, from West London
Nominated by Alzheimer’s Society, Zoe, 50, is an author but used to sing in jazz clubs and although she now cares for her mum, she has continued her passion for music by contributing to the Singing for the Brain group in Osterley. Zoe and her mum, Koula, have attended the group for over three years. She is now also an Alzheimer’s Society campaigner who also sings regularly for the group, both face-to-face and on Zoom.
Therese Poteratchi, 29, from Baron’s Court, London
Therese Poteratchi represents Young Voices, the largest school choir in the world. Her grandmother Rosaleen lived with Alzheimer’s when Therese was a child and some of her fondest memories are visiting Rosaleen in a residential home and playing the piano or recorder to her and the other residents. Therese said: “Singing or playing music to my grandmother allowed my siblings and I to bond with her, despite her not recognising us. The experience has left us with positive memories of our grandmother and our visits and was one of the reasons that I studied music.”
Gez Ossai, 58, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Described as ‘an exceptional advocate for dementia care’, Gez Ossai won a national newspaper competition to sing on the record. He is the General Manager at Wentworth Court Cheltenham, which provides specialist care for people with dementia and has helped shape social reform. Gez has been involved in many debates on broadcast, social media and at conferences, and has been heavily involved in community initiatives. His work was recognised when he met the King and Queen and he was also asked to 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister.
Katie Neal, 18, from Oxford
Katie Neal was chosen by the WI to appear on the single. As a child in the Brownies, the residents of the dementia-specialised care home would be so excited to have them visit, they would wait and wave through the windows. When Katie became a young leader of the same Brownies’ group, she visited every couple of months to get involved in music-led sessions that hugely uplifted residents, particularly at Christmas when many didn’t have visitors. More recently she has become a young voice within the WI.
We want to make Thank You Day the biggest and best sing-a-long the UK has ever seen, so be sure to download the lyrics to “Thank You For Being A Friend’, sheet music and backing track.
If you’re part of a choir, you can sign up on the Music for Dementia website to receive a free activity back, kazoos included!