Yorkshire musician has message of hope in new single released to raise awareness of Young Onset Dementia
For him, that is playing guitar – and the North Yorkshire musician and retired music industry executive is releasing a single today, inspired by his personal experience of the condition.
Jonathan, who received a diagnosis aged 62, has collaborated with Yorkshire singer songwriter Scott Quinn to create ‘U&ME’ - a single that aims to raise awareness of the growing number of young people facing the devastating impact of the condition.
Available to be streamed free from today – Young Onset Dementia Awareness Day, the single, recorded at Mark Knopfler's British Grove Studios, is inspired by Jonathan’s words and features him playing guitar.
“I’ve always loved music and wanted to do something to raise greater awareness for the people living with Young Onset Dementia, their families and carers,” he says.
“But I also wanted the single to give hope, and show that with the right care and support you can continue to do the things you love. For me that includes playing guitar.”
Jonathan has become the face of Harrogate-based charity Dementia Forward’s U&ME - Create A Voice campaign and is determined to provide hope for others by talking openly about his diagnosis, for as long as he can.
The campaign focuses on a 10-year plan to raise awareness of young onset dementia, and help people living with the condition keep doing what they love for as long as possible and deliver specialist, age-appropriate care and supporting Yorkshire, a model which the charity hopes will be replicated by service providers across the country.
"I hope the single makes people sit up and look,” says Dementia Forward Founder and CEO Jill Quinn. “And that it helps to stimulate more conversations and awareness around the condition. I hope people see Jonathan, a person affected by the condition, playing his guitar and realise that life goes on.
"This is just the beginning...It’s a complex condition is dementia. You can be struggling with some aspects of your life but doing what makes you tick is so good for you...Put a guitar in Jonathan’s hands, he’s centred and he’s Jonathan again.”
Dementia is described as ‘young onset’ when symptoms develop before the age of 65. It is estimated over 70,000 people in the UK are living with Young Onset Dementia - although Dementia Forward say this figure is much greater due to the difficultly of diagnosis and lack of specific medical coding.
There is currently no cure for the condition, which Jill describes as a “ticking timebomb affecting so many people" when it comes to healthcare, “with so much more needed in terms of providing age appropriate care and support”.
The U&ME single can be listened to for free on streaming platforms. People can also donate £3 to support the U&ME campaign by texting YODA to 70085.