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Daily’s outgoing editor produces archive film for dementia sufferers

A film of archive newspaper photographs aimed at helping dementia sufferers has been produced by a regional daily’s outgoing editor.

Hospitals in the Blackpool area have shown the film to patients after it was put together by Jon Rhodes, who edited his final edition of the resort’s title The Gazette on Friday.

The movie is composed of pictures sourced from The Gazette’s ‘Lost Archives’ collection, which feature in a weekly supplement in the newspaper, set to music.

Jon came up with the idea after The Gazette was approached by Blackpool Hospitals NHS Trust to see if there was anything the paper could do to help with dementia care in the area.

The Beatles at Blackpool Opera House in August 1964 - one of the images used by Jon to create the film

The Beatles at Blackpool Opera House in August 1964 – one of the images used by Jon to create the film

Jon, who says his own family have been “deeply affected” by dementia, set to work on the 14-minute film for Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Clifton Hospital, in nearby St Annes.

The slideshow features such stars as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, George Formby, Marlene Dietrich and Stanley Matthews.

Said Jon: “It is proven that the use of pictures and other memorabilia can help those living with this dreadful condition.

“So we decided to put together a slideshow of our best shots from the Lost Archives and set it to music.”

He added: “Dementia affects so many people. My family is like so many others in that we have been deeply affected by it.

“It was an honour and a privilege to put together a slideshow from The Gazette’s wonderful old pictures which I hope will stoke many happy memories of Blackpool and the Fylde coast.”

The film has been dedicated to the “brilliance and vision” of The Gazette’s photographers down the years.

Blackpool Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Gary Doherty said: “We are tremendously grateful to The Gazette for the Lost Archives video which will be a wonderful aid for helping our patients living with dementia.

“It is an excellent and innovative piece of work which will be a powerful therapy for so many patients.”

Former Gazette editor Gillian Parkinson, currently Johnston Press North West editorial director and editor of the Lancashire Evening Post, has assumed additional responsibility for the newspaper following Jon’s departure.