Littlehampton woman organises dementia concert, inspired by husband's special gift

A Littlehampton woman has been inspired by 'the power of love' for her husband to organise a concert for a dementia charity.

For her 50th birthday, Colin Haynes bought his wife Lorna a recording studio session, in which she sang The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush.

And 15 years later, she will be singing the 1984 classic again at a concert she has organised - also called The Power of Love - in honour of her husband, who is now bed-bound due to an uncommon form of dementia.

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She said: “It is the power of love that keeps me going to care and look after him. It has been a privilege to look after Colin – I think what you give in life is what you get, which is why I wanted to set up this concert.”

The 65-year-old from Worthing Road, Littlehampton, said she first noticed something was wrong with Colin ten years ago at his daughter’s 30th birthday party, when the outgoing former DJ withdrew into a corner of the room.

Lorna and Colin Haynes, from Worthing Road, Littlehampton

Lorna and Colin Haynes, from Worthing Road, Littlehampton

Along with this change in personality, he began to lose control of his coordination and speech. When the Tesco employee told Lorna he could not add up his figures at work any more five years ago, the couple went to the doctor and were referred to the mental health department.

Here, Colin was told he had frontal temporal lobe dementia – a rarer form of the disease that affected the front of the brain and set in at a younger age.

She said they were shocked, as they suspected Colin had acute depression. She said: “Afterwards, we got in the car, hugged each other and cried, because we knew what was coming.”

As the disease got worse, both Colin and care worker Lorna had to give up their jobs and lived for months with no income apart from their private pensions while financial support was set up.

Now, Colin is unable to move or speak and has two carers helping to look after him for 30 hours a week.

Lorna said it was important to her that Colin lived at home rather than a nursing home. She said: “I want people to know: yes, you can live with dementia – but you have got to be prepared to fight.”

The concert will take place on January 26 at St James Church, in East Ham Road, Littlehampton, and will raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

It will feature Lorna’s friends from the local entertainment scene, including Edwin James from the Edwin James Festival Choir, of which Lorna is a member.

It starts at 7.30pm, and tickets are £5 on the door.