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A day in the life with Brian Barnes, YPWD Volunteer

There are a number of very dedicated, generous and talented volunteers helping to support people with dementia and their carers throughout the working week for YPWD and we’d like to introduce Brian to everyone.  We are grateful to Brian for sharing his experiences of volunteering for YPWD twice weekly along with other details about himself that many of you may not know, such as his most favourite piece of music and that he was a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Maths before retirement.

Why do you volunteer for YPWD?

To try to give something back after the great support I received from Claire, Charlie and Jacqui after Val was diagnosed with FTD. When choir was set up Claire asked me to make refreshments and I have done that ever since and helped with the walking group from the start.

Of all the workshops you have volunteered on, which would you say is your favourite and why?

Probably choir, because it always seems so joyous.  People seem to enjoy it so much and you can see smiles on their faces and there’s lots of laughter. Also, I can upset Claire by singing loudly out of tune!

What would you say has been the most inspiring or uplifting moment while volunteering for YPWD?

I’d say the Christmas Concerts and especially the concert where Chris played guitar.

Which skills do you think come in most useful when volunteering?

I think it’s listening and trying to build up a rapport so that people feel comfortable talking to you. And I find volunteering a very rewarding and enriching experience.

Do you have any hobbies or interests, away from volunteering, which may surprise us?

A poor railway modeller! An avid reader of science and history magazines and a reader of physics books, which I fail to understand!

What does your most ‘ideal day’ look like?

Before old age set in it would have been up at sunrise and then a walk along the South West Coastal Path or Lake District then home in time for a bath and glass of wine.

If you had to pick a favourite meal what would it be and why?

Simple food, like steak and chips or freshly caught fish and chips when the fish is so succulent.

Is there somewhere in the world you haven’t been that you’d still want to visit?

I can’t really visit anywhere now, but regret not doing The Machu Picchu trail and Milford Sound in New Zealand.

What’s your most favourite song or piece of music and why?

I’m going to give you three.  ‘The Lark Ascending’ by Vaughan Williams. ‘Miserere’ by Allegri, the high notes on violin and voices send shivers down my spine.  Also, ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’ by Sandy Denny/Fairport Convention, so relaxing and wistful.

What’s your most treasured memory?

There are three.  Marriage to Val and the births of Catherine and James.

Finally, if you were in charge of the world for just one day, what is the one thing you’d encourage everyone to do?

Talk to each other and most importantly listen.


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