About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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  • Simon O'Donovan


“This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea.” ― William Shakespeare

We began this weeks CST session by noting the 100 years Centenary Royal Air Force flyby of Buckingham Palace on 10th July. 100 aeroplanes were in the flyby including: - Red Arrows - Several Spitfires - Three F-35 Lightning stealth fighters - And twenty two Typhoons, which spelt out 100 as they flew over the Palace. We saw that the Red Arrows had flown over the Palace with rainbow colours, as it was also London Pride last weekend. England beat Sweden 2-0 to reach the semi finals of the 'FIFA World Cup'. Sadly, drunken fans trashed IKEA in London. And then England lost to Croatia 2-0. Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, and David Davis, Brexit Secretary, had both resigned from Government after a Chequers Brexit Awayday. (That went well then!) Jeremy Hunt has subsequently been promoted from Health to the Foreign Office. Donald Trump arrived in the UK on Thursday for his first official visit. A blimp of Trump as a baby wearing a nappy was approved by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to fly above Westminster Square. Then there was some amazingly good news. All twelve boys were rescued from caves in Thailand, along with their school teacher. Sadly one of their rescuers died during the rescue effort, showing just how dangerous things were down there. Prince Louis was christened this week in a private ceremony. His full name is HRH Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge. The heatwave continued and now the UK faces a drought and a hosepipe ban.

By way of introductions, we asked what people like best about England?

Do members have a favourite English place they like to visit?

Was anyone born or schooled in England, or have family members there that they visit?

What about a famous English person members would like to meet?









& STEPHEN FRY... were top answers!

Not many people wanted to meet Simon Cowell or Piers Morgan! As usual, we had some pre-prepared questions to help our discussion along. QUESTIONS Which plane did Donald Trump fly into the UK on board? AIR FORCE ONE Who is Air Commador In Chief of the RAF? THE QUEEN What does R.A.F. stand for? ROYAL AIR FORCE Which member of the Royal family flew as a pilot with the Air Sea Rescue service ? PRINCE WILLIAM What was the name of the famous pilot who fought in 'The Battle Of Britain' after previously losing his legs? DOUGLAS BADER St. George's Day is when? 23RD APRIL Describe the flag of England? ST. GEORGE'S CROSS IS A RED CROSS ON A WHITE BACKGROUND What is St. George, patron saint of England, most often shown slaying? DRAGON Who was known as 'The Bard On Avon'? (Stratford-On-Avon was where he lived.) WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE Which sisters wrote 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Jane Eyre'? EMILY AND CHARLOTTE BRONTE Which fabled hero robbed from the rich to give to the poor? (He and his Merry Men lived in Sherwood Forest.) ROBIN HOOD Where are HM Queen's residences? BUCKINGHAM PALACE WINDSOR CASTLE BALMORAL SANDRINGHAM How do you know if the Queen is at home? THE UNION JACK FLIES Which architect designed St Paul's Cathedral? SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN What railway terminates at Paddington Station? THE SWANSEA TO LONDON LINE, PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS GWR The Government has just approved a second runway for which London Airport? HEATHROW Harry Potter boarded the Hogwarts Express from which London train station? PLATFORM 9 3/4 KING'S CROSS Where would you board a train to go to Europe via the Channel Tunnel? ST. PANCRAS What is the name of the nightclub in Liverpool where The Beatles started out? THE CAVERN Who else started their singing career there? CILLA BLACK Where is the renowned but unknown artist Banksy from? BRISTOL Which seaside resort has a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris? BLACKPOOL Which city has a leisure and maritime area called 'The Barbican'? PLYMOUTH Where would you see the Crown Jewels? TOWER OF LONDON The Tate Modern Gallery in London used to be a what? POWER STATION What is Europe's tallest Ferris wheel? LONDON EYE Which man in traditional costume shouts 'Oh yes, Oh yes' before making an announcement? TOWN CRIER What do English people dance around on 1st May? MAYPOLE

Which group of men dance in costume with bells on their ankles and bang sticks together in time to folk music?

MORRIS DANCERS Name the TV comedy series set in a hotel in TORQUAY? FAWLTY TOWERS The Pilgrim Fathers set sail on The Mayflower for The Americas on 16th September 1620 from which English port?


Where did Sir Francis Drake set sail from when he went to battle the Spanish Armada in July 1588?

PLYMOUTH HOE (Apparently he played a game of bowls there before he set sail!)

On board which ship did Charles Darwin set sail from Plymouth for the Galapagos Islands on 27th December 1831?


Which English scientist is said to have discovered gravity in the 1680s after an apple fell from an apple tree onto his head?


Which famous architect designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol? ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL

What is the name of the infamous motorway intersection in Birmingham? SPHAGETTI JUNCTION Where would you find The Needles? THE ISLE OF WIGHT Which UK island is famous for its cat with no tail? ISLE OF MAN (MANX CAT) What group of Islands would you find 35 miles South West of Lands End? (It was Harold Wilson's favourite holiday destination) THE SCILLIES What was the only part of Great Britain occupied by The Nazis in The Second World War? THE CHANNEL ISLANDS What's the difference between a Cornish and a Devon cream tea? CORNISH TEA HAS CLOTTED CREAM ON TOP What was the name of the vet in the TV drama series 'All Creatures Great And Small'? JAMES HERRIOT (PLAYED BY CHRISTOPHER TIMOTHY) What is the name of the pub in 'Emmerdale'? THE WOOLPACK And Eastenders? THE QUEEN VIC And Coronation Street? THE ROVERS RETURN (Has anyone a favourite pub they like to frequent?) Where did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently marry? WINDSOR CASTLE Where are these famous LANDMARKS? (Have some photos ready to hand) Has anyone visited them; would anyone like to? The Shard - LONDON Stonehenge - SALISBURY PLAIN The Roman Baths - BATH Lake Windemere - CUMBRIA Eden Project - ST AUSTELL, CORNWALL The Cutty Sark - GREENWICH Big Ben - WESTMINSTER, LONDON Slimbridge - GLOUCESTERSHIRE Angel Of The North - NEWCASTLE The Millennium Dome (O2 Arena) - LONDON The Prince Of Wales Bridge - SEVERN ESTUARY (What do members think of the new name for the Severn Bridge?) King Arthur's Castle - TINTAGEL (allegedly!) The Bullring - BIRMINGHAM The White Cliffs - DOVER Nelson's Column - TRAFALGAR SQUARE The SS Great Britain - BRISTOL The Globe Theatre - SOUTHBANK LONDON Clovelly - NORTH DEVON COAST St. Michael's Mount - CORNWALL (twinned with Mont Saint Michel in Normandy) Durdle Door - DORSET

Glastonbury Tor - SOMERSET Using a map of England, help members locate the following Areas Of Outstanding Beauty and guess at what they are famous for: - Norfolk Broads (boating holidays, windmills, Norwich Cathedral) - Dartmoor (hiking over tors, Dartmoor Prison, Buckland Abbey) - Lake District (lakes, Scafell Pike, Wordsworth) - English Riviera (seaside resorts, Torquay, Cockington Forge) - Peak District (Pennine Way, Chatsworth House, Alton Towers) - North Yorkshire Moors (NY Moors Steam Railway, Whitby, Scarborough ) - The Cotswolds (Bourton On The Water model village, Bath, Oxford) - Cornwall (surfing, St Ives, Newquay, Padstow). Let's think about some beverages made in England: - Cider (West Country) - Plymouth or London Gin - Newcastle Brown - Harvey's Bristol Cream - Yorkshire tea And foods from England: - Cheddar cheese - Wensleydale cheese - Cornish pasty - Lincoln sausage - Cumberland sausage - Melton Mowbray pork pies - Jellied eels (East End of London) - Yorkshire pudding - Lancashire hotpot - Bakewell tart - Kendall mint cake - Pontefract cake - Eccles cake Others very British not necessarily associated with a specific place: - Tea for two - Victoria sponge - English crumpet - Strawberries and cream (Wimbledon) - English Mustard - HP sauce (House Of Parliament) - Marmite (Love it or hate it? Undertake a survey!) - Ribena - Worcestershire sauce. Are there any others that members can name?


Playlist here:


Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines - John McCarthy Chorus This 1965 comedy film is about flying where (it was its subtitle)? HOW I FLEW FROM LONDON TO PARIS IN 25 HOURS 11 MINUTES Dambusters - Film Score Who invented the 'Bouncing Bomb'? BARNES WALLACE (Ask members to make a pilot's goggles with their HANDS, for fun.) Buckingham Palace - Anne Stephens Christopher Robin was from which series of books? WINNIE-THE-POOH Three Lions - Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning seeds In which year did England last win the World Cup? 1966 WHEN THEY BEAT WEST GERMANY 4-2 (GEOFF HURST SCORED A HATTRICK) You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry And The Pacemakers Which English football team uses this song as it's anthem? LIVERPOOL

Tea For Two - Doris Day & Gordon Macrae

When is the last time anyone used a teapot or loose leaves with a tea strainer?

Name some teas?


English Rose - The Jam Traditionally, what colour is the English Rose? RED (THE TUDOR ROSE IS THE HERALDIC SYMBOL OF ENGLAND AND COMPRISES MAINLY RED FROM THE HOUSE OF LANCASTER AND A WHITE CENTRE FROM THE HOUSE OF YORK) Candle In The Wind - Elton John (You could ask before playing this song, what is the top selling UK single of all time?) Why do you think this was the top selling UK single of all time? IT'S ASSOCIATION WITH PRINCESS DIANA With A Little Help From My Friends - NHS Voices What anniversary has the NHS just celebrated? 70TH (Originally from The Beatles 1967 album, 'Sgt. Pepper' s Lonely Hearts Club Band') The Adventures Of Robin Hood - TV Theme Who were Robin Hood's arch enemy and closest friend? THE SHERIFF OF NOTTINGHAM & MAID MARIAN The Lord Is My Shepherd (Vicar Of Dibley theme) - The Choirboys What was the vicar's name? GERALDINE GRANGER (PLAYED BY DAWN FRENCH) Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler - Bud Flanagan Where was this TV comedy ('Dad's Army') set? WARMINGTON-UPON-SEA All Creatures Great And Small - TV Theme What series of books was this TV comedy based on? IT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN TO A VET Fawlty Towers - TV Theme Name the four main characters and actors? BASIL FAWLTY - JOHN CLEESE, SYBIL FAWLTY - PRUNELLA SCALES, POLLY - CONNIE FRANCIS & MANUEL (I'M FROM BARCELONA) - ANDREW SACHS Englishman In New York - Sting Who is this song about? GAY RIGHTS CHAMPION, QUENTIN CRISP Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush Which album (Kate's first) was this song taken from? THE KICK INSIDE ('Wuthering Heights' was the first self penned song by a British female singer songwriter to reach number one in 1978) Fields Of Gold - Sting Which company makes Barley Water? ROBINSONS I Am A Cider Drinker - The Wurzels What is rough strong cider better known as? SCRUMPY I'm Henry The Eighth I Am - Herman's Hermits Name the six wives? CATHERINE OF ARAGON, ANNE BOLEYN, JANE SEYMOUR, ANNE OF CLEVES, KATHRYN HOWARD, KATHERINE PARR King Henry VIII, To six wives he was wedded. One died, one survived, Two divorced, two beheaded. Boleyn and Howard lost their heads, Anne of Cleves he would not bed, Jane Seymour gave him a son – but died before the week was done, Aragon he did divorce, Which just left Catherine Parr, of course! It's A Long Way To Tipperary / Pack Up Your Troubles Time for a singalong White Cliffs Of Dover - Vera Lynn What is Vera Lynn commonly referred to as? THE FORCES' SWEETHEART (Born 20th March 1917, she is now 101 years young!) Swing Low '99 - Russell Watson This song is commonly sung at England rugby union matches? Thinking of the 'Six Nations', what are the emblems worn on players' shirts? ENGLAND - RED ROSE, WALES - PRINCE OF WALES FEATHERS, IRELAND - THREE SHAMROCKS, SCOTLAND - THISTLE, FRANCE - ROOSTER, ITALY -ITALIAN RUGBY FEDERATION FLAG Jerusalem - Hubert Parry, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra What organisation sings this song at the opening of each of their meetings? WOMEN'S INSTITUTE Rule Brittania - Last Night Of The Proms Land Of Hope And Glory - Last Night Of The Proms For these two tracks we gave everyone a musical instrument and gave our own rowdy performance. We each had a Union Jack flag to wave also. We then stood for the National Anthem. ACTIVITIES After our active session, we went into the garden to water our tomatoes, peppers and chillis.

We then had refreshments - English Cream Tea of course!

We had previously made the English flags and bunting.