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Four Notes viral pianist boosts dementia projects

Photo issued by Music for Dementia showing (left to right) Grace Meadows, Campaign Director for Music for Dementia, pianist and former music teacher Paul Harvey (left), 80, and his son Nick. The Paul & Nick Harvey fund has provided £500,000 for the Music for Dementia charity after pianist and former music teacher Paul Harvey, 80, performed on BBC Breakfast last year.

By Tom Horton, PA

A musician with dementia has helped ensure 30 projects around the UK receive a share of a £500,000 fund to help people living with the disease.

The Paul & Nick Harvey Fund has provided the money for the Music for Dementia charity after pianist and former music teacher Paul Harvey, 80, performed on BBC Breakfast last year.

Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 have been awarded to projects across the UK which will provide musical services for people who have dementia.

Actress Vicky McClure and broadcaster Lauren Laverne have praised the move.

Forget Me Notes, Musical Memories Choir and Lifesize CIC are among the organisations which have received grants as part of the project.

This follows a £1 million donation to the fund from philanthropists Sir Tom and Lady Marion Hunter, who decided to back the project after being inspired by Mr Harvey’s story.

He went viral last year after he was challenged by his son, Nick, to improvise a tune using the notes F, A, D and B.

The BBC Philharmonic orchestra later helped him record it as a single, titled Four Notes, to benefit both Alzheimer’s Society and Music for Dementia.

Grace Meadows, campaign director for Music for Dementia, said: “Musical services have been severely impacted in the last year, meaning many people living with dementia and their carers have lost those important connections and special moments that music, uniquely, provides.

“It couldn’t be more timely to be distributing this fund just as we are beginning to see the green shoots of in-person services start to emerge.

“We can’t wait to see and hear the amazing stories of shared experiences that this fund creates.”

Laverne, who is a Music for Dementia ambassador, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many projects being granted funds from Music for Dementia, which works so hard to help ensure that everybody with dementia has free access to music as part of their care, whatever their circumstances, as it can truly enrich their lives.

“I know the ripple effect of the grants will go far and wide throughout the UK.”

Line Of Duty star and dementia campaigner McClure said: “Music has the power to transform, connect and enrich the lives of people living with dementia.

“It’s great news that 27 organisations across the UK have been given grants to extend their vital music services.

“The impact this will have on individuals, their carers and families cannot be under-estimated.”

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