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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Thursday, 30 September 2010 15:07 UK
Soprano Lesley Garett helps local charity, Lost Chord

Look North reporter Penny Bustin went to see Lost Chord's work at Layden Court in Maltby near Rotherham

Opera star, Lesley Garrett, returned to her home ground of South Yorkshire to support a charity helping dementia sufferers.

Lost Chord wants to raise £103,400 through its High Notes Appeal.

The charity uses music to stimulate responses from people who may be unable to communicate in any other way because of their condition.

The money raised will pay for concerts by a team of professional musicians at 40 care homes across the region.

Lesley Garrett was at the launch of the campaign, held at Sheffield United's ground - Bramall Lane.

She knows the value of music to people with dementia as her own aunt was a sufferer:

"She didn't recognise any of us, not even her own children.

"But when my mum would put on one of my CDs, her eyes would light up, they'd fill with tears and she'd smile and sing along.

"She knew that music and that voice, when she knew nothing else."

Lost Chord describes its methods as using music in an interactive way to promote well being and quality of life among dementia sufferers.

Lesley Garrett is not their only celebrity patron. The charity also counts Sir Cliff Richard and Dame Vera Lynn among its supporters.

Although based in South Yorkshire, Lost Chord operates in more than 70 care homes across South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, London and Cardiff.

Lesley Garrett
Lesley Garrett was at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane ground to launch the High Notes Appeal for the Lost Chord charity

According to its chief executive, Helena Muller, they reach more than 1,000 people a month:

"Professional trained musicians provide more than 800 interactive concerts each year.

"Our musicians use a variety of instruments and styles to produce a programme designed to stimulate responses from people living with dementia who may be unable to walk, talk or communicate in any other way."

It costs Lost Chord £200,000 annually to maintain its current programme of events.

The new appeal would help safeguard concerts at another 40 homes.

Lesley is convinced of the impact of the work Lost Chord does:

"You would be astonished at the reaction of these poor people who have been cut off from the world.

"Music can touch dementia sufferers when nothing else can.

"I can't emphasise enough how valuable this work is and how much our work is growing."

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