Appreciation for Irene Mackay’s Work

Many people have kindly shown appreciation for my book The Forgetful Elephant, and for my work: Thank you so much, and thank you to Barbara Dessi, whose charming and touching illustrations complement the story so well.

I show my appreciation of what you all have done by continuing the work. Together we will improve the quality of life for all who are touched by dementia.


Support from Jane Moore in Cornwall . . .

This is a beautifully written book for ‘Little ‘Uns’. I hope all parents will buy a copy so that their children will grow up with knowledge.

Jane Moore, Camelford Dementia Action Alliance


. . . and from researcher Denise Cranley:

The Forgetful Elephant is a beautiful publication, and very thoughtfully written. Publications like these can make a difference to the day-to-day impact of dementia on peoples’ lives.

Denise Cranley, Research Assistant, Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic


Kind words from Northern Ireland …

I currently support a group of people with dementia who have worked tirelessly over the past 3 years to reduce stigma, raise awareness and influence policies. They are currently in the process of registering as a charity (Dementia NI) in the hope of attracting more members and eventually reaching out to the whole of Northern Ireland. Targeting the youth is part of their plan and I was delighted to hear of your project with DSDC and Girl Guides. Excellent piece of work, and I’d just like to congratulate you on all your work and your beautiful book.
We are attending the conference in Glasgow and will look out for your poster display!
Keep up the good work.
Kindest regards

Wilma McIlroy, Northern Ireland


Appreciation from Sharron, a nursery school teacher:

I wish I had had this story 6 years ago when my mother-in-law was going through dementia. It would have been so much easier to explain her loss of memory to my young nephew. Credit to you Irene, for tackling difficult issues in a child-friendly way.

Sharron McIntosh, Nursery School Teacher, Park Drive Nursery, Bannockburn, Stirling, Scotland


Thoughtful words from Louise . . .

I think that this is a really valuable subject and it’s great that you are doing lots of events. It is sad when children lose touch with their grandparents. Often it is because they are scared or don’t understand, and they then shy away. I think it is lovely to try and help them understand so their relationship can be maintained – which has to be a good thing for all the family.

Louise, Families Central Scotland Magazine


. . . and from Theresa, received following an Ellie Session

Thank you for visiting St. Mary’s to talk to the children about The Forgetful Elephant. The talk was particularly helpful in highlighting issues that some people and families experience with dementia. Since the talk, some of the children have made reference to it in their own lives and is has been a helpful tool for discussion. The question and answer session at the end was particularly useful to the children. Thank you for taking the time to visit.

Theresa O’Hanlon, St. Mary’s R.C. Primary School, Bannockburn, Stirling, Scotland


Positive thoughts from Zoey . . .

I have had a chance to look over your book, website and materials and I would love to promote them for use in schools. What you offer would fit into one of our 12 lesson plans really well.

Zoey McClellan, The Memory Box, Schools Project Development


. . . and appreciation passed on by my hairdresser

My client was just in and telling me about her dad having really, really bad dementia. The only way she has managed to get her wee boy to understand and accept it is by reading your book, and saying the poem on the back cover every time he gets angry with his grandad for being forgetful.

Michelle Mathew at Hilton Hair

The story of The Forgetful Elephant is an inspired and sensitive way to tackle the difficult and upsetting subject of Alzheimer’s. It is well-written, in a style that is clear and accessible to a young audience. I was particularly impressed that you have succeeded in creating a story which is honest about this incurable condition, but still has a hopeful message about the ways in which it can be managed by loved ones.

Editorial Department of Scholastic Children’s Books


What a sweet and wonderful teaching tool.

Alzheimer’s Support


Alzheimer Scotland welcomes this charming story book which fills a current gap in the British market for a publication explaining dementia to pre-school and early primary school age children. Dementia affects the whole family and it can be difficult to explain why a grandparent or even a parent may be behaving differently.

The Forgetful Elephant does this very well, but also shows how even very young children can develop ways of maintaining their relationships with their relatives with some form of dementia.

Alzheimer Scotland, Head Office, Edinburgh


Media coverage of my activities and The Forgetful Elephant can be found on the MEDIA page.

See a portfolio of Barbara Dessi’s work at

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