DEED Featured in Newsletter 7


Irene Mackay’s Seventh Elliegrams Newsletter

Winter 2014







Welcome to my Elliegrams Newsletter, named after Ellie, the main character in my book The Forgetful Elephant.In this newsletter I will share information and insights from around the world, to help us all cope better with living with dementia.
The past few months have been very busy for me, which has been wonderful. I took Ellie and her family to the Alzheimer Europe Conference in Glasgow in October where I made a poster presentation, and we have recently returned from a trip to Northern Ireland to launch #dementiayouthawareness based on my book, The Forgetful Elephant. The Northern Ireland visit was an uplifting experience for me, being able to see first-hand how they have embraced my book with such interest and passion.
You can find out more about these events in Ellie’s News Update below, and also on my website blogs and social media posts.

Best wishes,












Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants

by Barbara Schnurbush

See Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants HERE



Sabrina Lynch in Derry

See my interview with Sabrina HERE
























Ellie has recently returned from a very exciting two-night sleepover in Northern Ireland. It was especially exciting for her as it was her first time on an aeroplane. She spent her first night in Derry where she met one of her Memory Helpers “Derry Ellie”. They had their own little tea party and talked about the busy time they both had ahead of them.








Ellie’s tea party with Derry Ellie


It was an early start the next day with her first stop being at Model Primary School in Derry. She met some of the older children who had a competition to draw a picture of her and Grandpa doing something fun. Then she was introduced to the Nursery Class, who had her story read to them. The children gave her a lovely key ring as a “thank you” for visiting them.

















Model Primary School

Then it was off to St Cecilia’s College to meet the girls who took part in a competition to write a song for her. She loved all 6 of the songs and was glad that she didn’t have to choose the winner!! After having lots of photos taken with them, she was invited to a lovely lunch at The Old Library Trust in Derry before heading off on a long drive to Belfast. Next stop was at the Girl Guides Hall where she met the Guide Leaders and the Brownies. Ellie learned that one of the Brownies also had a Grandpa who had dementia and he kept on telling her the same stories all the time. Ellie was also delighted to be made an Honorary Brownie and was presented with her very own badge and certificate from the Head Commissioner. Phew!! What a busy and exciting sleepover that was. Here are some of her memorable photos.













Ellie’s Song at St Cecilia’s College. A video of the song is on my Facebook page











Lorne Brownies

I look forward to sharing more about Ellie’s Sleepover Adventures in future Elliegrams Newsletters. If you have an Ellie Sleepover Pack, please send an account of Ellie’s adventures and some photos. We will publish a selection on our website, social media and in this Newsletter.



Alzheimer Europe Conference, October 2014

I was very fortunate to have been selected to give a poster presentation at the Alzheimer Europe Conference which this year was held in The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland. I met many inspiring people and my poster and display attracted much interest. I made a lot of useful contacts from many countries, so I hope that very soon children in other parts of the world will be aware of my book, which will help raise children’s awareness of dementia in other countries too.

Northern Ireland Trip

Over the past few months, the DSDC NI (Dementia Services Development Centre Northern Ireland) and The Old Library Trust in Derry have been working on projects to raise children’s awareness of dementia using my book The Forgetful Elephant. They invited me to Northern Ireland to be a part of what has been achieved and for the launch of #dementiayouthawareness, which I am delighted to share with you all. Here are the events of Friday 14th November 2014.

Model Primary School – Derry

My visit to the school included the presentation of one of my Ellie Sleepover Packs, kindly donated to the children by The Old Library Trust. I was also delighted to be able to read my story to the Nursery Class in the school. The older children also had a competition to draw a picture of Ellie doing something fun with Grandpa: 8 winners were presented with a bag of goodies. Some of the touching pictures can be seen on my website.

St. Cecilia’s College, Derry

This was a very exciting visit for me as six of the classes were involved in a competition to write a jingle for Ellie. I was honoured to be one of the judges to pick the winner. I can tell you it was a very difficult task as they were all wonderful and all winners in my eyes. We chose the winner for the important message of acceptance conveyed by the words of the song which will now be recorded and published on my website in the very near future. Meanwhile the words and the video can be viewed on my Facebook page.

Girlguiding Ulster

To round off a wonderful day, I then travelled to Belfast to meet with the leaders of the Ulster Girl Guides and read my book to the Brownies. They have adopted my book as a way for the Guides to earn an Ellie Memory Helper Badge by explaining dementia to the Brownies. The Girl Guides designed a beautiful badge with my little Ellie logo on it. Ellie was made an Honorary Member of the Brownies and was presented with her very own badge and certificate.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to Amanda Leitch from DSDC NI and Sabrina, Donna and Leeann from The Old Library Trust for such a memorable day.

Blogs, photos and more information about my trip can be found on my website

I hope the free tips booklet you received when you subscribed to this newsletter was useful to you, or to someone you know who needs help and support, to help cope with living with dementia.

Please share your ideas how we can work together to raise children’s awareness of dementia.

I welcome all suggestions and ideas, to help improve quality of life for people with dementia, and their families.

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season from me, and from Ellie and her family, and all the very best for 2015. Also, a big thank you to everyone who has supported me during 2014.











Irene Mackay















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