Among the first to benefit from The Old Silk Works will be Brian and Sue Burgess.

Brian, 73, who lives with Lewy Body dementia and Parkinson’s disease, has already booked his place in the new day club.

A hugely sociable man, keen golfer and Freemason, he misses the company of other men in particular, after his health forced  him to give up many of his hobbies and social connections.

“The club will be super,”  he said. “We visited the Trowbridge club and it was really good. It is the sort of place where you can get your mind back. There wasn’t room for me there though, so we are looking forward to the club opening here in Warminster.”

Brian started his working life as an agricultural engineer before becoming an insurance agent for Pearl. “I really felt in love with my job when I worked for Pearl,” he said.

After Pearl was taken over he worked selling mortgages and helping people to buy their own homes in the Pewsey area, before retiring in 1999. Since then, golf has been his passion, regularly playing up to three times a week as Seniors captain at Upavon and, after moving to Warminster 12 years ago, at Orchardleigh. He was also an active Freemason involved in the Longleat Lodge, again loving the social side of the meetings, and contact with like-minded individuals.

Life changed for Brian in 2008 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Then four years ago the doctors told him he also had dementia with Lewy Bodies. It is a form of dementia that sometimes accompanies Parkinson’s, characterised by vivid hallucinations and dreams. The worst of this is now controlled by medication, after a long search for the right regime .

Finding support

It was not until January 2017 that Brian and Sue came across the specialist help of Alzheimer’s Support. The memory clinic referred the couple to Dementia Adviser Rose Stewart and through her they met Gill Frere-Smith who runs the Support at Home service in Warminster and Westbury. She arranged for support worker Wally Ogilvie to visit twice a week.

“He is lovely,” said Brian. “We go for long walks and they always end up in a café for tea and cake. Or we stay at home and he plays his bagpipes. He is such an interesting person.”

Spending time with Wally has enabled Brian to enjoy the companionship of other men, something he has missed since being unable to play golf or attend the masons. It also enables Sue to go along to a monthly carer’s support group also run by Alzheimer’s Support.  “ That has been so good for me, to meet other people in a similar situation,” said Sue.

Now the Burgesses are looking forward to the opening of Warminster’s new Dementia Centre in 2018.

Sue said: “We are so thrilled about it. It will be so good to have something like this here in Warminster. It will be so easy and close for us. There are so many people in need of this.”

Please support our appeal

Alzheimer's Support is appealing for funds to renovate and equip the new centre. Find out how you can make a difference for people like Brian