Engage: Government needs to do more for dementia research, Vicky McClure

Vicky McClure has spoken out about funding for dementia research after filming a documentary about the connection between the condition and music.

Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure brings together people suffering from some form of dementia to see if music can help them, as they train to perform as a choir in front of an audience of 1,000 people.

The Line Of Duty star joins forces with specialists from the fields of medicine, music therapy and performance for the BBC One two part series.

“The Government doesn’t put enough funding into research. I am passionate about looking into that,” McClure said.

“I want to know what’s being done on that side of things.

“The funding is the hardest part, to have the choir running all the time, they’re not cheap.

“It’s free to sing, but to have that routine and providing tea and coffee and somewhere to do it, it costs money.

“It can be cheap and manageable, but it’s not free.

“(We) need the backing of councils and the Government.”

The documentary follows the journey of 20 people with a form of dementia, aged between 31 and 87, from McClure’s home town of Nottingham.

The 35-year-old, who also starred in the This is England film and spin-off series, experienced dementia first-hand through caring for her grandmother (Nona) Iris, who died in 2015.

Asked if she’s concerned about getting dementia, McClure said: “What can I do about it? My Nona died of dementia.

“Of course, there’s that fear that it could be me. But I can’t live my life between now and whenever worrying about it.

“You’ve just got to live your life and enjoy every day.”

The episodes see the group training with choral director Mark De-Lisser, singing well-known hits like Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations and Stand By Me by Ben E. King.

Although members of the choir see improvements during the documentary, McClure said the deterioration of members since filming is “frightening”.

McClure said: “There have of course been changes in people since we filmed.

“Some are in homes now and they are all deteriorating, rapidly for some.

“It’s quite frightening.

“I can tell when people recognise who I am and when they’re just being polite.

“It’s horrible.”

Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure will air on BBC One on May 2.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Ian West / PA Wire.