Tributes paid to founder of memory club

Mel Thomas, who was passionate about memory clubs she set up in Gorleston, has died aged 78.

Mel Thomas, who was passionate about memory clubs she set up in Gorleston, has died aged 78. - Credit: Archant

A memory club paid tribute to its much-loved and inspirational founder Melrose Thomas who died two years ago.

The Tuesday meeting of the St Andrew’s Club began with an address by Rev Dan Waite who applauded Mel’s foresight and her talents as a motivator and “doer.”

He said the club had been blessed by the presence of an exceptional lady whose enthusiasm had touched the lives of all who knew her.

Club leader Peter Watters said he had been inspired by Mel in 2005 through a shared belief that music was key to stimulating memories and reconnecting people with their pasts.

Peter praised the volunteers many whom had been supporting the club for 12 years, and paid tribute to their dedication to Mel’s ideas.

Mr Watters said: “In recent times we have been pleased to welcome new volunteers to the group, they provide much needed help for our loyal team of volunteers to maintain our current agenda and allow us to provide the new initiatives we had been planning.

“Our latest projects are to provide cognitive stimulation therapy (a structured course administered by qualified therapists) and run a carers support group. Both projects are grant aided by the Big Lottery Fund.

Most Read

“We are also pleased to welcome the students from Great Yarmouth College who have joined to help us and experience the practical aspects involved in running our memory club.

“We regularly update our Facebook page see, St Andrews Memory Club Gorleston for further details and contact information.”

One member said she was “always really buzzing,” adding: “We miss her desperately and will never replace anyone like that.”

Mrs Thomas died after a fall in a supermarket two years ago.

Although initially she was well enough to call her partner, her condition rapidly deteriorated. She died in hospital five days later, aged 78.

At the time of her death the clubs had a membership of around 90 and a waiting list, with the idea spreading to Scotland and Cornwall.

She was handed a Living Legend award by the Queen at Windsor Castle for her voluntary work in 2006 and was continually fundraising and bidding for grants for outings and meals for members.

It is estimated she raised around £75,000 in the last 10 years to support the clubs.