HELENSBURGH’S dementia-friendly singing group for people over-60 has won a major award from a charity for older people.

Marjory Barrington, musical director of Local Vocals, accepted Age Scotland’s Services for Older People national award on behalf of the choir at the national charity for older people’s online award ceremony on Monday.

Although the popular choir hasn’t been able to meet in person since lockdown, the group has kept in touch online.

Before lockdown the group of more than 40 singers met in Helensburgh Parish Church hall and welcomed members from organisations including Alzheimers’ Scotland, Helensburgh and Lomond Carers, Argyll Care Home and a local Parkinsons’ group.

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Members spoke about the benefits to their physical and mental wellbeing after a choir session, from breathing more easily due to increased lung capacity to spending time with new friends and feeling less isolated.

Marjory Barrington, a retired music teacher and Local Vocals Musical Director, said:

“Local Vocals are thrilled to have received this recognition by Age Scotland. We have been singing together for a few years now and have found that being free to sing in a group takes away isolation, makes us happy and has bound us together.

“I am so proud of Local Vocals and what we have achieved together. I am honoured and delighted to accept the trophy on behalf Local Vocals.”

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Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland said: “I am absolutely delighted to present our Services for Older People award to the hugely popular Local Vocals.

“We know that music and singing can be enormously beneficial to older people, including those living with dementia. It is a joy to see people living with dementia light up when they hear a familiar tune.

“Local Vocals provides a valuable opportunity for older people and their carers to come together to sing everything from show tunes to old time classics.

“I hope that the choir, which is so important to the older community, will be able to get back together again before too long and raise the roof with their collective voices.”

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