Pub’s Alzheimer’s help group
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When Mary Watt was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, her devastated family were particularly shocked as she was only 57.
Daughter Valerie Watt said: “Mum was given the diagnosis and then we were more or less on our own. We were so bewildered and felt we had nowhere to turn.”
However, she was determined other families shouldn’t experience the same isolation. So now she and her partner, Ray Hatton, who run the Goat’s Gate in Whitefield, Manchester have set up the Get Together Club – a free weekly support group which takes place at the Joseph Holt-owned pub.
Watt said: “It’s a place for dementia sufferers and their carers to meet and enjoy each other’s company.
“We have entertainment such as music or craft activities like our recent pumpkin carving for Halloween. It's just a warm, welcoming place to have some tea, coffee and biscuits and enjoy the company.
“We’re here as much for the carers as the sufferers. If you need to laugh, cry, or let off steam, we’re here for each other.”
Since her diagnosis three years ago, Watt says her mother has become a “different person”.
“Mum was the kind of person who would do anything for anyone. She was the life and soul and would give her last penny to someone if they needed it.
“All that personality has gone. Often, she doesn’t recognise me or know her three grandchildren. Ironically, she worked in the care industry herself and it’s so upsetting what has happened to her when she was once so vital and full of life.”
Joseph Holt marketing manager Paul Longmire said: “As a family run, independent business, we take great pride in ensuring our pubs are at the heart of the communities they serve.
“We’re so proud of what Valerie, Ray and their helpers are doing at the Goat’s Gate. Alzheimer’s is a terrible and distressing illness. This group is one way to help ease some of that distress and provide a comforting presence and peace of mind.”
The Goats Gate group meets every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm and there is no need to book.
Pictured: Valerie Watt and Ray Hatton.