Nan’s dementia inspires Winter Gardens gig

Winter Gardens, Blackpool
Winter Gardens, Blackpool
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A Blackpool musician said his family’s “harrowing” experience of dementia has inspired him to stage a musical extravaganza at the Winter Gardens.

Colin Appleby saw his grandma Nellie develop dementia and now is on a mission to help others affected by the disease with a concert in September.

Colin Appleby, from Blackpool and the Fylde College

Colin Appleby, from Blackpool and the Fylde College

Colin, a lecturer in media and music at Blackpool and The Fylde College, is hoping to boost the coffers of the Alzheimer’s Society with a music festival billed as ‘Coast Town – a Ska and Mod extravaganza for the North’ at the iconic venue on September 19.

It will be headlined by The Selecter, fronted by legendary ska singer Pauline Black and feature Big Fat Panda, Jeremiah Ferrari and HeavySol.

“When we fund-raise for charity we like to nominate a cause that is close to our hearts and that is why we are aiming to do our bit for the Alzheimer’s Society because it means a lot to me,” Colin, 47, said.

“In the past we have raised money for charities such as the Teenage Cancer Trust and Help for Heroes and last year it was British Heart Foundation because our bass player had a heart attack and we nearly lost him.

“But I lost my nan just before Christmas to dementia, having seen her deteriorate for five years and I’d lost another grandparent to the same condition ten years before that, so we agreed it was high time we backed the Alzheimer’s Society.”

His fundraising endeavours are inspired by his late grandma, Nellie Appleby, who lived in Layton and was, he said, “a fantastic person”.

He added: “It’s really hard when dementia develops not just because it’s affecting someone who’s been there and always looked out for you but because you lose them, bit-by-bit and day-by-day.

“That’s to the point that they don’t start to recognise people and they become agitated and physically they lose independence.

“It’s a long, gradual and it is horrible in terms of the self-respect that have and their quality of life. It’s not always noticeable. But you lose your personality. We lost Nan before she passed away because her character had gone. It’s harrowing.”

Alzheimer’s Society community fundraiser Sue Swire added: “This will be a really special event which is fitting because Colin’s Nan was clearly very special to him.

“She’d be really proud of him because we rely on people like Colin giving up their own time to raise funds for us which will help us as a charity finance services for people who are living with dementia and also fund the research which we hope will one day lead to a cure.”

Tickets are £20 and are available via or