Heath news and more from Bob Jope

(Last Updated On: June 11, 2018)

Devonians win Birthday Honours

First, some good news on the health front.

The difference two people in South Devon are making to people with dementia and mental health issues has been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Richard Frost, an Employment Specialist within Devon Partnership Trust’s (DPT) Workways service has been appointed an MBE for his services to mental health, while Gina Awad has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her voluntary services to people with dementia in Devon.

Gina trained as a volunteer Dementia Friends Champion, the Alzheimer’s society social action movement, in 2014 and has delivered 105 Dementia Friends sessions reaching 1600 people in a wide range of businesses and organisations across the city and county. Since launching the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance she has inspired more than 60 businesses to take action by creating an action plan considering their service provision for people living with dementia and their families, and was awarded Dementia Champion of the Year in 2016 at the Dementia Friendly Alzheimer’s Society awards. Other achievements have included creating a Dementia Friendly GP resource guide, establishing dementia friendly cinema screenings, and organising for a virtual dementia tour to come to Exeter.

Richard Frost, meanwhile, leads the Mindful Employer scheme, which provides information and support for employers in recruiting and retaining staff who experience mental ill health and in the field of employment since 1979, specialising in helping people with disabilities.


Next, health news of a very different kind  –  a chance to find some breathing space and let your mind and body relax  – there’s even a ‘healing area’ – as later this month the Wonder Fields festival gets under way near Exeter, ‘the UK’s most unique emerging festival,’ the organisers tell us.

Their aim, they say, is ‘to create a space where people can come together for one glorious weekend each year and celebrate life, away from the shackles of the outside world – a place where anyone can come with love and kindness and all are accepted.’

Activities on offer range from archery classes to making greenwood sculptures, or trying your hand at slack lining.

‘And when you’re tired out from all your new experiences (and you’ve used up all your dance moves),’ they add, ‘ kick back and relax in a hot tub with a glass of prosecco and listen to the bands we’ve  picked out for you to enjoy. We provide the fields, the artists and performers, the most delicious local food and drinks, a hard working team, beautiful décor, glorious glamping and a relaxing healing area with hot tubs and spa treatments. You bring yourselves, and your own little bit of magic – and together we make a weekend for all to remember.’

I’m particularly excited about Wonderfields this year as my granddaughter Lea will be performing silks in the woods, along with her silking partner Amber!

#joinusinthefields for a slice of #HeaveninDevon at #WonderFieldsFestival2018, 29 June – 1 July, Nr. Exeter, Devon.

Bob Jope

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Apart from five years studying in Oxford I’ve lived most of my life in London where for many years I was Head of English in a prestigious girls’ school, but since taking early retirement and heading West to be nearer to my two daughters - settling in Torbay with my wife, Anna, in 2011 - I’ve worked in the voluntary sector. I took on the role of Service Provider, for example, promoting the Red Cross Torbay Navigators Project, while now I’m a Trustee and part of the Media Team for our local Healthwatch. I’m a governor at Torquay Academy, too, giving me the chance to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of education. Other interests, aside from friends and family, include art and art history, reading - from contemporary fiction and poetry to Elizabethan/Jacobean literature - history, politics, cooking, walking, and music, in particular Bob Dylan, the blues, and early Elvis. I love writing, too, with one novel published so far – Elvis in Wonderland – and another, Who’s There?, that still needs plenty of work!