Before the pandemic I started a new YOPEY Dementia Befriender community partnership between the Dereham Sixth Form College and a care home in the Norfolk town.
Kasey Challenger was one of about 20 sixth-formers who were trained by me and taken to York House. They learned how to befriend people with dementia as the majority of elderly people living in care homes have these terrible diseases.
Kasey had visited the care home a couple of times when the Coronavirus struck and all care homes were locked down before the rest of us.
Now care homes residents were isolated as well as lonely.
While most of her fellow Dereham College YBs faded away, Kasey asked me what she could do. She was a talented musician, a keen poet and turned out to be a talented film editor too.
She made a music video and then she helped me produce about 20 YOPEY Virtual Variety Shows, which you can still see on YouTube today.
Kasey said I was a demanding task-master but she truly loved editing these videos and contributed many acts herself.
Inspired by her experience as a YB, between sixth-form and uni, Kasey got a job as an activities coordinator at another Norfolk care home.
She writes about this experience in an older post on this page.
Now I hear she has taken her life while at university.
I have spoken to her mother and send my condolences to all who were close to Kasey.
Kasey was an outstanding YOPEY Befriender. Had she lived I am sure she would have had a great career in whatever she chose to do. I will miss her.
Tony Gearing MBE
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