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H&F launches Dementia Action Week with poetrees in five local parks

Categoriesnews Health and carenews, Arts and parksnews

Image captionImage 1: Pictured left to right are the Mayor of H&F Cllr PJ Murphy, poet Dan Simpson, Peggy Coles from H&F’s Dementia Action Alliance and Cllr Ben Coleman

Have you noticed the words hanging from trees in your local park?

Head down to read and enjoy the crowdsourced poem written by local residents to help raise awareness of dementia.

The H&F Dementia Action Alliance has teamed up with local poet Dan Simpson to mark Dementia Action Week (17-23 May) with the community-led poetrees, which are on display in five local parks across the borough.

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Image caption: Image 2: Words hanging from the poetree in Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith

The poem, entitled ‘Living Well’, was crafted by Dan with words submitted by residents in answer to questions around the themes of dementia, living well and memories.

  • Read the crowdsourced poem: Living Well – Dan Simpson, Poet

    I think of my nan and grandad
    hands warmed round a mug of tea
    travelling through their memories
    touching different shaped shells
    rough, smooth, and ridged
    a bookcase of stories from the past
    old photographs of grandchildren
    a moment of incomparable memory
    a sense of peace on a quiet morning
    frozen, lost in time
    being proud of who you are and what you have achieved
    at peace, tranquil.

    Celebrating them unconditionally –
    love what is; not what used to be.

    I felt as if I was standing on the edge of a sea cliff
    the noise of everyone chatting miles deep
    with all the weight of the water pressing down on me:
    how confusing it must be
    a life in a different field
    the sun shining out of reach
    memory loss in the mountains
    the roar of the ocean in the hot sun
    a rollercoaster of sorrow and sadness
    the whistling wind speeding past
    a dusty smell of the dry earth
    the contrast between the land and loneliness
    a loss of self, things not said
    fear of the future.

    Nothing is really anybody’s fault –
    love what is; not what used to be.

    Life, like a mighty red oak
    must sprout from the humble soil of 
    making choices with integrity and values
    gritting my teeth and shedding my pride
    doing the washing up once in a while
    encouraging others to use kind words
    the summer sunshine in long grass
    contentment rather than happiness
    private bliss.

    Sometimes it means letting it be –
    love what is; not what used to be.

    I am always touched by incredible gestures of humanity
    frequent acts of kindness
    no matter whether it’s shady or sunny
    achieving little goals day by day
    making sure I take time to smell the roses
    feel the glow on my body
    being believed and supported
    the difference between listening, and hearing
    fight ignorance, have patience, remove burden.

    Be the best ally possible:
    love what is; stand up for empathy.

Cllr Ben Coleman, H&F Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, and Hammersmith & Fulham Mayor, Cllr PJ Murphy, unveiled the poem on display at Ravenscourt Park on Monday (17 May).

The poem is also hanging from trees in Hammersmith Park, Bishops Park, South Park and Wormholt Park.

“A big thank you to everyone for sharing their words and experiences around dementia, and to Peggy Coles from H&F’s Dementia Action Alliance for organising this initiative,” said Cllr Coleman.

“The Dementia Action Alliance brings together residents, charities, businesses and the council. We’re working towards a new strategy and action plan to make H&F a recognised Dementia-Friendly community where people with dementia and their families/carers are better understood, respected and supported.”

Peggy Coles of the H&F Dementia Action Alliance added: “It is brilliant to engage so many residents over social media and in local community groups to become dementia friends and highlight a positive image about dementia.”

Last year, there were more than 800 H&F residents over the age of 65 with a known diagnosis of dementia. This is forecast to increase to more than 1,900 residents by 2030.

Video: Cllr Ben Coleman introduces our community-led poetrees

Become a Dementia Friend today

Why not help local residents living with dementia by becoming a Dementia Friend yourself?

This Alzheimer's Society initiative gives everyone the opportunity to help, ranging from visiting someone you know with dementia to being more patient in a shop queue, to getting involved with things like volunteering and campaigning to raise awareness.

Become a Dementia Friend – it only takes a few minutes to register.

Please use the Hammersmith and Fulham code ‘LBH21413’ and postcode ‘W6 8DA’ when registering.

Further information

For further information on Dementia Action Week or to find out more about our work on dementia, contact

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