Here at Local Dementia Guide we've been following the progress of Ted McDermott, better known as The Songaminute Man, for several months now. His story is the perfect example that a diagnosis of dementia need not be the end of life as you know it, and that its never too late to pursue your dreams.
Ted had worked as a Butlin's Redcoat as a young man in the 1970s and continued singing and entertaining even when working in a factory after getting married. When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 3 years ago, his family found that it was singing that was the key to helping restore his zest for life.
His son Simon began posting videos of their carpool karaoke sessions on Facebook with the simple aim of raising some money for the Alzheimer's Society.
These videos, which showcase not only Ted's fantastic voice but also the close father/son bond, touched the hearts of many of us and The Songaminute Man quickly became an international internet sensation.
A record deal soon followed when Decca invited Ted down to the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London this Summer to record Frank Sinatra's classic "You make me feel so young" alongside the Guy Barker Big Band, with "Quando, Quando, Quando" as the B-side.
To date, Ted's extraordinary singing has raised more than £137,000 for the Alzheimer's Society and his videos have attracted more than 100million views online.
We were therefore delighted when at the start of November Ted and Simon's efforts were recognised with a Pride of Britain Award for Special Recognition.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that driving Dad to the supermarket and having a singalong would make such a huge difference not only to his own life, but to so many other people around the world.
“Since the video went viral we have received thousands of messages from across the globe - many of which describe how Dad's voice has brought so much joy and inspiration - especially to those families who are also dealing with a loved one's dementia.
But the story does not end there. The family are currently attempting to raise the £74,000 needed to record a full album via their JustGiving page, and Simon is now writing a book, to be published by Harper Collins imprint HQ next year, to tell his father's extraordinary story.
A spokesman for the publishers said:
“Charting Ted’s incredible life against the backdrop of 40s Britain to the present day, from his beginnings in Wolverhampton – the eldest of 14 children – to the carpool video that attracted 60 million views worldwide, and a record deal for Ted, "The Songaminute Man" will prove that it’s never too late to realise your dream.”
Well we can't argue with that, so here at Local Dementia Guide we continue to wish them every success!
'The Songaminute Man' will be published in Autumn 2017 in hardback, ebook and audio download.
Click here to see Ted's videos on his Facebook page or on YouTube, and download his single from itunes, Amazon or Google Play (Proceeds to be shared between the McDermott family and the Alzheimer's Society)
Click here to visit The Songaminute Man page on Just Giving to support the family's fundraising work for the Alzheimer's Society
Photos courtesy of The Mirror