PREVIOUSLY, I wondered how, instead of sorting photos, I’d passed the time in various lockdowns.

Then I remembered lockdown one. I was Soroptimist International Yorkshire President, attempting to keep in touch with members in 21 Yorkshire Soroptimist clubs. I recalled posting on social media for 150 consecutive days, launching a monthly newsletter and becoming acquainted with Zoom.

The weather was good and I walked every day.

Lockdown two was another matter. The presidency had been passed on, daylight was lessening and a project was required, but not sorting photos. What to do? I heard an item on BBC Radio 4 Broadcasting House, about the power of music for people who experienced memory loss.

A man called Nick Harvey had been in touch about his father, Paul Harvey. Paul was a former music teacher, who was experiencing dementia, but

could compose any tune from being given four notes on the piano.

The item reminded me of playing my mother’s favourite music with her, as she steadily experienced memory loss. I had a lightbulb moment. In a cupboard there was my mother’s old HMV wind-up gramophone from 1939 and 1930/40s records.

I suggested to my husband, that we could make some films for YouTube called, ‘My Mother’s Music’.

He was happy to help with the technology and we commenced a steep learning curve.

The snug became our studio, we bought a professional microphone, used an iPad camera and ended up recording 50 records. They can be found on https:/

A chance conversation with someone from ‘Together with Music’, led to being able to hold musical sessions on Zoom in residential homes all over the UK during the next year.

Last April, the Scarborough, Malton and District Soroptimists had a stall at a Community Fair in Malton. We met people from the North Yorkshire Music Therapy Centre.

I told them about ‘My Mother’s Music’ and now we’re joining forces. Next month sees a weekly session with a group of people with dementia and their carers. We also hope to visit residential homes in the future.

The item about Paul grew into a recording of ‘Four Notes - Paul’s Tune’ and £1,500,000 has been raised for Music for Dementia. It’s a heartwarming and moving story and can be found on YouTube. Paul Harvey has just been awarded an OBE.

Rita Leaman is a writer and speaker on emotional health. As Alison R Russell, she published Are you

Chasing Rainbows? As Rita Leaman she published a compilation of The Press York columns 2014 -19 in

‘Wise Words’. website: