Thank you all so much for your help and support with our project this year – it couldn’t have happened without you all: we are very aware of how difficult things have been for people because of the recession and your generosity has been magical.

I am typing this as Alistair is editing away – complete with wooly scarf and jacket on. Oh – there’s a third pair of socks going on now too…:-)

Merry Christmas everyone and may we wish you a Happy and Peaceful 2011


Kate  & Alistair x

…from giving a talk about how SPECAL helped me look after Dad to 140 Mental Healthcare professionals from Northamptonshire NHS Trust.

The talk went well, although despite doing this for a living, I’m still not used to talking in public about something so close to my heart. Kept a hankie up my sleeve, just in case, but didn’t need it (thank goodness!)

I had lunch with them beforehand and got chatting to a lady who is in charge of mental health services for older people. I discovered her Dad, who sadly has Parkinson’s, is at Heathfield House and overlapped MY Dad by a year! And also, of course, knows Louise (one of the stars of our film with her sister, Pippa).

Small world, ain’t it!! 😉

Kate x

SPECAL today heard that they have just been made the IPC Media Charity of the year for 2011! They made it down to the short list of 4 and all were invited to go to IPC magazines last Wednesday to talk about the charity. I went along with a couple of the film clips and Penny, Christine and Marguerite (from IPC – her father had dementia and she too was helped by SPECAL) did a marvellous job of meeting the staff who were the voters and explaining how SPECAL works.

Brilliant, brilliant news! 🙂

K x



Pam & Geoff, Pam's garden

Derek filming through window…

If you’d like to have a look at some clips from the film, click on the *NEW – Film Clips page on the menu bar…

Meanwhile, here are a few more stills from our shoot with Pam and Geoff – the crew that day being Derek G on camera and Kim Harding on sound – thanks, boys!

Kate x

Pam, Geoff and Kim on sound

We’ve been doing ‘pick-up’ days (always sounds dodgy!) which means we’ve been spending a few hours with all our interviewees getting  cut-away shots to use as a visual narrative to go with their stories, so the viewers get a better idea of who they are, what they’re like, how they live etc. Next time you see a documentary, watch how many of these shots are used – it’s quite an eye opener!

As always, everyone has been very good humoured and patient with us! As I type this, I can hear Alistair editing bits together in the background – in this case, Penny’s interview talking about her Mother.

As you can see, we’re still creeping up on our total – we’re still aiming for the full £15,000 as there are still things we need to fund (we have  had to buy 5 storage devices so far to contain all the footage!) so please, don’t forget to do EuroMillions tonight and think of us when you win!

Seriously, we are still getting new visitors to the site from all sorts of sources. Every pledge, however small, will be gratefully received and put to good use.

Kate x

Thank you to Pam, Geoff and Deborah for their time, patience and contributions this week: we have some really great footage and interviews to make five very good case-studies of how SPECAL has helped to change the course of peoples’ lives. As they all said, SPECAL has had a profound effect on their relationships with those they love who have dementia by teaching them how to understand the disease, how to ‘get along side’ the person with dementia and how to keep the communication channels open.

We still have some ‘pick up’ shots to do for the narrative of the film but we would like to take this opportunity to also thank the crews for their work and care – they have all helped make the filming of this difficult subject as painless as possible and as ever have displayed their talent and good humour throughout, so Derek, Kim, Alex and Marc – thank you. You are stars!      Kate x

Thank you to Penny, John, Pippa and Louise for the last two days – as always, everyone is very patient with the filming process, which we are trying to make as painless as possible and you were all brilliant!

We’ll put up some more stills from the shoot over the next two days, and may even have a caption competition 😉

Just to give you an idea of the editing task ahead, we have shot  at least 4 hours of interviews over the last two days, times 2, as there are two cameras…


Kate x

Just a quick post in the midst of getting ready to film tomorrow at Penny’s and then John’s in the afternoon (his cared for his late wife who had dementia) and then off to Pippa’s again on Friday to pick up some shots, followed by filming at Heathfield House Nursing  Home. Pippa’s sister is there and it’s where Dad was – they have kindly agreed to let us do some filming, although I have to admit it will be strange to go back …*packs tissues*

Mr Briggs has said he may want some shots of me arriving in my car. Oooops. It is caked in mud and full of grubby horse stuff at the moment, so I think I’d better go and get a bucket and sponge 😉

More updates at the weekend!

Kate x

We’ve organised four  more days filming  – two at the end of August and two at the beginning of September. The first of the four will be interviewing Penny Garner,  SPECAL’s founder.

The footage we’ve shot so far looks great and Alistair is already editing bits and pieces in his office – rather him than me: takes the patience of a saint….

For anyone visiting the site for the first time, we are still £2,395 short of our budget target – if you can spare even £15 towards that amount, it would be very gratefully received! Just go to the pledge page, which will explain how to do it. Thank you! 🙂

Kate x

June patiently waiting...

We spent yesterday filming June and Fiona telling their story about June’s late husband, Tony, who had the same form of dementia as my Dad. Some very good footage and the girls were brilliantly patient while we set everything up and then gave us a very moving and insightful account of their experience of SPECAL and what it has done for them. Thank you both very much – a marvellous contribution to the film, even down to Wally the dog!

Kate x

PS With so much good material to choose from, I’m glad Alistair’s doing the editing, not me! 😉