'I Am Still Me' - Moving photography exhibition shows people with dementia should not be defined by their condition

John 'Jack' Raistrick, with his wife Margaret.

John 'Jack' Raistrick, with his wife Margaret.

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A moving photography exhibition is touring Harrogate to show that people living with dementia should not be defined by their condition.

For nine months, photographer Helen Williams has enjoyed going along to Dementia Forward’s singing group to get to know the personality and character of its members, that she has now specially captured in a series of uplifting portrait photographs, 'I Am Still Me'.

Clare Aylesbury, Ziva Aylesbury, Alex Aylesbury, and Tom Williams.

Clare Aylesbury, Ziva Aylesbury, Alex Aylesbury, and Tom Williams.

It was a touching moment for John (Jack) Raistrick, 93, when he saw his portrait unveiled at a special viewing event hosted by Harrogate’s M&S store - which selected Dementia Forward as their charity of the year.

Mr Raistrick said: “I think it’s marvellous, I think it captures me really well.”

Anne McKillop was delighted with the portrait of her mother. She said: “They are not photos of people with dementia, they are just beautiful photos. I think it’s beautiful the way this shows that they are united but not defined by the condition.”

M&S Store Manager Dawn Briggs said: “We are absolutely delighted to be showing off these wonderful pictures for the first time. We are very proud of the relationship we have with Dementia Forward.”

The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Nick Brown, with Helen Williams and Dementia Forward Chief Executive Jill Quinn.

The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Nick Brown, with Helen Williams and Dementia Forward Chief Executive Jill Quinn.

Chief Executive of Dementia Forward Jill Quinn, said: “A project like this is just wonderful, it really shows that you are not defined by dementia.”

Helen Williams said: “I have loved going along to the singing group, I feel like I have made friends and got to know everybody so well. I really wanted to show people’s personalities that shine through their dementia.”

The exhibition will be at Harrogate Library throughout April.

Photographer and artist Helen Williams with her work.

Photographer and artist Helen Williams with her work.

Visual manager Victoria Mooney, store manager Dawn Briggs, Cafe section manager Hester Allen, Deputy manager Helen Burne, and Ladies Wear Section Manager Holly Hawthorne.

Visual manager Victoria Mooney, store manager Dawn Briggs, Cafe section manager Hester Allen, Deputy manager Helen Burne, and Ladies Wear Section Manager Holly Hawthorne.