A blast from the past for Honiton Memory Cafe

Dementia sufferers and their carers take a trip down memory lane in a special red, vintage bus.

Members of Honiton Memory Cafe were taken back in time when they buckled up for their first ever ‘Memory Lane’ reminiscence bus tour.

As part of its maiden outing, 19 members jumped on board a red, vintage double-decker bus to Sidmouth staffed by its own bus conductor in a vintage uniform.

The special journeys, designed for dementia sufferers and their carers, have been made possible by a grant from the Big Lottery Fund and have been put together by Age UK and psychologist Dr Ruth Darvill.

The trip to Sidmouth helped to stimulate the senses and bring back memories with the distinct smell of the diesel, singing ‘holiday’ songs from the 1950s and using special props and artefacts donated by Sidmouth Amateur Dramatic Society, the Real McCoy, Tiverton Museum and the local community, including a authentic 1950s swimming costume and old fashioned camera.

During the visit the bus stopped along the prom before heading to the Manor Pavilion Arts Centre for a traditional seaside picnic of corned beef sandwiches, Victoria sponge and bakewell tarts - made and served up by Age UK Devon volunteers from Seaton.

One of the remaining Punch and Judy Men, Colin John, treated the special visitors to a live show and potted history of the tradition.

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Nina Parnell, of Age UK Devon, said: “This was the first of twelve reminiscence trips we will be running around East Devon on our ‘Memory Lane’ bus.

“Each trip will take on a different theme - from seaside trips to dance hall days.

“Our aim is to stimulate happy memories from the past, and create days to remember for both the person living with dementia and their carer. Above all, it’s about helping people to ‘live well’ with dementia.”