It was my absolute privilege this month to be invited as guest of honour to the second Butterfly Ball in Blackpool. The lead organiser, nurse Francesca Chiappe Hall, had the much-valued help this year of her colleague Andrew and the event again raised money to enhance dementia care at BFWH, through its Blue Skies Fund Peace of Mind appeal. Fran has family experience of dementia and has worked tirelessly to enhance dementia care at Blackpool Victoria and Clifton Hospitals, where she is far from alone in being determined to go the extra mile to support people living with dementia.


It’s daunting to be asked to speak about dementia care to a ballroom full of partygoers – especially between the meal and the dancing! – but this team is so passionate about dementia care that the ballroom fell silent and everyone listened as I spoke about the benefits that the additional funds would bring. In addition, people came to talk to me during the evening about their own experiences of dementia care, both as professional team members and as family carers. It really was a heartwarming and uplifting event.


Fran had done so much to theme the evening around the Butterfly Scheme and dementia care – from the butterfly balloons, to the butterfly place-settings, to designing the “me in dementia” decoration on the puddings. As we end one year and prepare to start another, it was a very special way to celebrate the progress being made in supporting people living with dementia, their family carers and those caring for them when they’re in hospital.