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Abi - Together With Music Story

Abi Dawson, well-being, and activities coordinator at Lavender Hill Care Home, Ramsbottom

Prior to working at Lavender Hill, Abi was a stay-at-home mum with a background in fashion design. When her daughter started school, she was looking for a part-time role, close to home where she could utilitise her creative skills in a job that she loved.

Abi quickly discovered that the residents all absolutely loved anything to do with music, however one resident, former BBC Radio Manchester presenter, Alan Sykes wasn’t keen to participate in group activities. Abi got to know Alan, and his passion for broadcasting and meeting people and made it a personal mission to find an activity that would really engage him. She had the idea of involving Alan in a podcast and reached out to Together with Music.

An Hour With Alan Is Born

Alan now hosts Together with Music’s podcast An Hour with Alan. Abi accompanies the 82-year-old to The Yard MCR once a month where Chris Durkin, North-West Community Engagement Manager at Together with Music works with Alan and Abi to produce the show. The podcast is just getting underway, but Alan has already taken a trip down musical memory lane sharing stories and memories about music and the art of growing old disgracefully with some highly esteemed guests including Angela Rippon CBE and current Radio Manchester Presenter Ellie Colton.

Introducing his first episode, Alan opens with the story of a recent encounter when he was asked:
“Didn’t you use to be Alan Sykes!.”

“He’s had a long career on the radio. As soon as the mic comes on he just comes alive it’s wonderful his mood lifts and he’s got so many stories and lessons to teach us. I would never have thought this could happen and want to thank Abi, Lavender Hills Care Home and Together with Music for just giving my dad an opportunity to be himself and to speak his truth to the world.”


Alan's son, Jonathon Sykes

Emily Abbott, Project Director, Together with Music said:

“Abi came to us with the idea of creating a podcast with Alan and we were only too delighted to help bring her amazing idea to life. It was so inspiring to see the care she was taking to find an activity that would support her resident. We have loved working with her and Alan to create a platform to hear his memories of music and life.”

Alan Sykes joined BBC Radio Manchester in 1971 as their first ever presenter, a role which took him across Europe interviewing music icons from ABBA to Bing Crosby.

Lavender Hill Care Home in Ramsbottom, part of the Millennium Care group, a family-run care provider operating seven homes across Greater Manchester and Lancashire, person-centred care is at the heart of its ethos as the team delivers bespoke care to promote individuality and promote positive outcomes.

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