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24th Jul, 2021

Care home resident with dementia turns TV chef and rolls back the years for Cupcake Day

A CARE home resident who lives with dementia turned TV chef for the day when she starred in a nostalgia-filled video for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Gwyneth Nisbet, 81, relived her childhood memories while filming the baking lesson at Anya Court Care Home for the charity’s Cupcake Day, which takes place today (Thursday June 17).

Gwyneth, who hails from West Northamptonshire and has lived at the Dunchurch Road home for just over two years, led the way in making almond biscuits and revealed how to perfect the fluffiest butterfly fairy cakes, with help from chef Ernesto Gagliotta.

As well as putting eight decades’ worth of baking knowledge to good use, Gwyneth discussed her favourite recipes, some of her most treasured childhood memories of baking with her gran, and how she followed in her footsteps.

She said: “I am one of five children and it was marvellous growing up in my house, it was always full of love and we always stuck together.

“Mum always used to let us help cut the pastry out if she was doing any cooking, but when we went to my gran’s we would always be baking. Granny showed us how to make everything!

“When we were at school, one of the first things I remember baking was cakes for the evacuees during the Second World War. I was only young at the time, but it was painful even then to see them with no mums to look after them. When I used to get home, I’d say ‘mum give me a cuddle’ because I’d seen so many kids without that.”

While tasting their baked goods, she added: “I feel like the baking has all stemmed right back to my grandmother, so here’s to you Granny Clayton!

“It’s also made me realise I can do things. Instead of sitting around all day, it’s nice to be busy and I’ve really enjoyed today.

“I’d be so grateful for anyone who can join me in having some fun baking while raising money to help people with dementia when they most need it.”

Mum of two Gwyneth first started developing memory problems in 2018 when her family started to notice her forgetting medication and mixing up members of the family. She also started to ask where her parents were – both of whom had died many years ago.

She is one of many who have been cut off from family and faced the effects of isolation due to lack of social contact over the past year.

Heartbreakingly, the pandemic meant visits from Gwyneth’s husband Tom, 87, had to stop. The couple first met at her cousin’s 21st birthday and have been married for over 50 years.

But with care homes opening their doors again, the pair have been able to get back to their regular visits, something they both cherish even more now.

Gwyneth’s video aims to inspire baking beginners by encouraging them to sign up to Cupcake Day, and shows how baking has the power to bring people together after an unprecedented year.

Avnish Goyal, Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador and Chair of Hallmark Care Homes which runs Anya Court, said: “There has never been a more important time to support Alzheimer’s Society’s vital work by fundraising for the charity.

“Older people, including people living with dementia, often don’t get the quality of care they deserve after a life of contribution. Never has that been more apparent than this last year.

“People living with dementia should be able to carry on doing the things they enjoy, which is why it’s so wonderful to see Gwyneth in action, showcasing her baking talents to the nation.”

Visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/cupcake-day for more information on the charity and how to take part in Cupcake Day.

Visit https://youtu.be/mtKd0a418cw to watch Gwyneth’s video.

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