• Simon O'Donovan

International Day Of Happiness - 20th March

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it." - Groucho Marx "Share your smile with the world. It's a symbol of friendship and peace." - Christie Brinkley

This week’s CST activities page focuses on 'Happiness' for two reasons. First, it is ‘Sport Relief' this week (9th-13th March) (‘Red Nose Day’ returns next year) and second it is 'International Day Of Happiness’ on 20th March.

The aims of 'Sport Relief' are described as follows:

"Sport Relief brings the nation together to get active and raise life changing amounts of money through the power of sport.

In an unjust world there will always be poverty. So we fight inequality wherever we find it by powering local change makers on the ground to:

• Ensure people have a safe place to be

• Help children to survive and thrive

• Reduce fear, violence and discrimination

• Improve mental health support

The money raised by the public is used to support people living incredibly tough lives, in the UK and around the world.

While poverty and injustice exist...we’ll keep fighting."

The last 'Sport Relief' raised £38m on the night. 'Comic Relief', of which 'Sport Relief' is a part, has raised over £1bn in the 35 years since it was launched in 1985 by Richard Curtis and Jane Tewson.

March 20 is the 'International Day of Happiness' and this year's theme is 'Happier Together', focusing on what we have in common, rather than what divides us. Everyone wants to be happy - and life is happier when we're together. So let's celebrate our common humanity. Join the community and be part of this special day.

The aims of the United Nations 'International Day Of Happiness' aims are as follows:

1. Tell everyone about it. Wish them a 'Happy International Day Of Happiness'.

2. Do what makes you happy and focus on the positive energy around you.

3. Pledge via to create more happiness in the world.

4. Celebrate a 'Happiness Month' event, listed on the website.

5. Share your happiness with the world via social media, using the hashtags #tenbillionhappy, #internationaldayofhappiness, #happinessday, #choosehappiness, #createhappiness, or #makeithappy

INTRODUCTION By way of introduction, we asked members to answer these questions: - What makes you happy? - Who makes you laugh?

- When is the last time you had a really good belly laugh? What was it about? IDIOMS Ask members to complete these phrases about happiness. Laughter is the best - MEDICINE Laugh and the world laughs - WITH YOU (Weep and you weep - ALONE) Burst out - LAUGHING All the fun of the - FAIR Beyond a - JOKE Crack a - SMILE OR JOKE Doubled up with - LAUGHTER Fun and - GAMES Funny haha or funny - PECULIAR Girls just wanna have - FUN Good for a - LAUGH Grin from ear to - EAR Laugh something - OFF Wipe that smile off your - FACE I didn’t know whether to laugh or - CRY Not exactly a laugh a - MINUTE He who laughs last laughs - LONGEST Fall about - LAUGHING Laugh yourself - SILLY Laugh all the way to the - BANK Smiling like a Cheshire - CAT Laugh? I nearly - PAID THE GAS BILL etc Be full of the joys of - SPRING Jump for - JOY On cloud - NINE Like a dog with two - TAILS Happy go - LUCKY Happy as - LARRY Having a whale - OF A TIME On top of the - WORLD Over the - MOON In seventh - HEAVEN Walking on - AIR / SUNSHINE Are you having a - LAUGH A laugh a - MINUTE Laughed out of - COURT Laugh like a - DRAIN It's no laughing - MATTER The life and soul of a - PARTY A friend in need is a friend - INDEED Only - JOKING LOL = Laugh out loud

ROFL = Roll on the floor laughing

Note to subscribers: This is just a reminder that the activities provided in this blog are only intended as a guide and not a blueprint. Feel free to use some or all of the materials and to add to them as you see fit or your group wishes. The suggestions here are to prompt recall and promote discussion through reminiscence, but more importantly they are intended to provide enjoyment and support inclusion and engagement, thereby positively impacting quality of life. You may need to adjust or reduce content according to the time you have available, the cognitive abilities of your members and their communication needs. Please let me know what works and doesn't. I'd love to hear any ideas you have for additional content or new activities.

COMEDIANS Next, we looked at some photos of UK comedians and remembered their best jokes and catchphrases. This was also a facial recognition task. Please click on the link above to be taken to the slideshow. (Print the colour photos for the tables.)

Kenny Everett Catchphrase (one of many)? - "It's all done in the best possible taste." Characters? - Sid Snot, Gizzard Puke, Captain Kremmen and Cupid Stunt Dance troupe? - Hot Gossip (including Sarah Brightman)

Ken Dodd Little helpers? - The Diddy Men from Notty Ash Hit singles? - ‘Happiness’ & 'Tears' Some of his best jokes - “Honolulu has got everything. Sand for the children, sun for the wife, sharks for the wife’s mother…” “My Dad always knew I was going to be a comedian. When I was a baby he said, ‘Is this a joke?'” “I have kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it.” “I used to think I was marvellous in bed – until I discovered all my girlfriends suffered from asthma.”

Victoria Wood Soap parody within her sketch show? - 'Acorn Antiques' (parody of 'Crossroads')

Featuring who as Mrs Overall? - Julie Walters

(Does anyone remember the 'Two Soups' sketch with Julie Walters?) Song? - 'Ballad Of Freda and Barry' TV shows? - 'As Seen On TV', 'Pat And Margaret' & 'Dinnerladies' Charlie Chaplin Persona most associated with? - Tramp with walking stick

Always wore? - A bowler hat and carried a cane His dog? - A Jack Russell

Most famous silent movie? - 'The Great Dictator', 1940 French and Saunders First names? - Dawn and Jennifer Married to who? - Lenny Henry - used to be - and Ade Edmonson - still Separate TV hit shows? - 'Vicar Of Dibley' & 'Absolutely Fabulous'

In 'Ab Fab' Patsy Stone was played by? - Joanna Lumley Laurel and Hardy First names? - Stan and Oliver Catchphrase? - "That's another fine mess you got me into!" Hit movie? - 'Way Out West', 1937 Song from the movie? - 'Blue Ridge Mountains Of Virginia' The Two Ronnies Surnames? - Barker and Corbett Catchphrase? - "It's goodnight from me and it's goodnight from him." Separate hit TV shows? - 'Porridge', 'Open All Hours' & 'Sorry'

In 'Porridge' Ronnie Barker's character was named? - Norman Stanley Fletcher Morecombe and Wise First names? - Eric and Ernie Hit single/theme? - 'Bring Me Sunshine'

Does anyone remember the breakfast sketch?

Can anyone do their closing skip?

What did Eric keep doing to Ernie? - Slapping his cheeks Tommy Cooper Catchphrase? - "Just like that!"

Hat? - Fez Some of his best jokes - "Caerphilly is the healthiest place in the country. When I first arrived there I couldn’t say a word. I didn’t have a single hair on my head and I didn’t have the strength to walk across the room. How long was I there? I was born there." "I sleep like a baby. Every morning I wake up screaming around 2 o’clock." "Show me a man who lost all his money and can still laugh and I’ll show you an idiot." "My wife had a bad habit of biting her nails but I cured her. I hid her teeth." "My wife dislocated her jaw and couldn’t talk so I phoned the doctor and told him to drop round anytime, in a few weeks or a few months." Les Dawson Famous for his? - Bad piano playing Who did he play Kitty and Ada with? - Roy Barraclough Some of his best jokes - "I got home last night, the wife was in the kitchen. I knew she was getting my tea ready – I could hear the fire extinguisher going." "I’ve had some bad news about the wife’s wealthy uncle who’s ill in hospital. He’s recovering. I went to see him last week. I said: “Is there anything I can do for you?” He said: “Only one thing. Take your foot off the oxygen tube.”" "I call my wife "Treasure". She reminds me of something that’s just been dug up." Cannon and Ball First names? - Tommy and Bobby Catchphrase? - "Rock on Tommy!"

Bobby Ball wore? - Red braces Billy Connelly Nickname? - The Big Yin Married to? - Pamela Stephenson Hit single? - 'D.I.V.O.R.C.E.'

Sadly diagnosed with? - Parkinson's disease and is now a champion for the Society 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' Members? - John Cheese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones TV show opening? - "... And now for something completely different!" Hit films? - 'Life Of Brian', 'Holy Grail', 'The Meaning Of Life' Frankie Howerd Hit TV series? - 'Up Pompeii' Catchphrase? - "Titter ye not." Rowan Atkinson TV shows? -'Blackadder', 'Mr Bean' and 'Not The Nine O'clock News' With? - Pamela Stephenson, Mel Smith and Grif Rhys Jones

Blackadder's sidekick was? - Baldric, played by Tony Robinson

Who loved? - Turnips

Lenny Henry

Found fame on? - 'New Faces' Children's TV show? - 'Tiswas'... With? - Sally James and Chris Tarrant Most famous character? - Theopolis T Wildebeest Peter Cook and Dudley Moore TV show? - 'Not Only But Also'

Dudley Moore starred in which 1981 movie? - 'Arthur'

Who sang the theme tune? - Christopher Cross

'The Goon Show' Starred? - Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine Spike Milligan's hit song? - 'The Yin Tong Song'

Peter Sellers starred as which detective in the 'Pink Panther' movies? - Inspector Clouseau

Marx Brothers The deaf and dumb brother? - Harpo The others? - Groucho, Chico, Zeppo Most famous films? - 'Duck Soup', 'Day At The Races' and 'A Night At The Opera' Benny Hill Hit single? - 'Ernie' The name of the girls he chased? - 'Hills Angels' Remember him slapping the head of his bald sidekick? Ricky Gervais Most famous TV series? - 'The Office', 'Extras', ‘Derek’ & ‘Afterlife’ ‘The Office’ was set in? - Slough

Recently hosted? - 'The Golden Globes'

Caroline Aherne Most famous TV shows? - 'The Royale Family' & 'Mrs Merton' Jim and Barbara Royale? - Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston

Previously starred together in? - 'Brookside' David Walliams and Matt Lucas Most successful TV series? - 'Little Britain' David Walliams swam what to raise money for 'Sport Relief'? - The Thames and the English Channel Jo Brand Career before comedian? - Mental Health Nurse

Wrote and starred in a TV series about nursing called? - 'Getting On'

Hosted which after show? - 'Through The Cakehole'

'The Young Ones' Who were they? - Rik Mayall, Ade Edmonson and Nigel Planer Hit singles? - ‘Hole In My Shoe’ & 'Living Doll' (with Cliff Richard)

Who was their landlord played by? - Alexi Sayle David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst Hit TV show? - 'Only Fools And Horses' Catchphrase? - "Rodney, you plonker!"

Vehicle? - Yellow Reliant Robin Went on to star in? - 'A Touch Of Frost' (David Jason) and 'Goodnight Sweetheart' (Nicholas Lyndhurst) Dick Emery

'The Dick Emery TV Show' ran from? - 1963-1981

Catchphrase? - "Oh you are awful, but I like you!" Patricia Routledge Hyacinth Bucket? - 'Keeping Up Appearances' Catchphrase? - "The Bou-quet residence! The lady of the house speaking!" Richard Wilson Starred as Victor Meldrew in? - 'One Foot In The Grave' Catchphrase? - "I don't believe it!" Who played his wife Margaret? - Annette Crosbie

Michael Crawford Frank Spencer? - 'Some Mothers Do Av' 'Em' Catchphrase? - "Oo Betty!" Starred alongside? - Michelle Dotrice

Michael Crawford played which character for the first time in a West End musical? - The Phantom in 'Phantom Of The Opera' in 1981 Leonard Rossiter Starred as Mr Rigsby in? - 'Rising Damp' Starred alongside? - Frances de la Tour (playing Miss Jones) Also starred in? - ‘The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin’ He always imagined his mother in law as? - A hippopotamus Miranda Hart Starred in her own series? - ‘Miranda’ Catchphrase? - “Such fun!”

Her mother was played by? - Patricia Hodge Does anyone remember the Sushi Conveyor belt sketch? Comedians/TV comedy characters missing from the list who you rate?

Favourite TV comedies missing?

(We printed off the photos of comedians and made the collage above. Then working through the catchphrases etc, asked members to identify and name them.)

If you have time, here is a YouTube Playlist of some top UK comedy clips to look at with the group. Morecombe And Wise - Breakfast sketch Mr. Bean - High dive Only Fools And Horses - Chandelier Monty Python - Lumberjack song The Two Ronnies - Four candles Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em - Rollerskating Victoria Wood - The Ballad of Barry and Freda Dad’s Army - Don’t tell him Pike Only Fools And Horses - Del falls through the bar Laurel And Hardy - Blockheads Fawlty Towers - Room with a view The Two Ronnies - Mastermind Tommy Cooper - The duck trick Monty Python - Dead parrot Billy Connolly - D.I.V.OR.C.E. The Royale Family - Breast implants The Office - David Brent dance Gavin And Stacey - Where’s the salad? The Young Ones - Living Doll Tony Christie - Is This The Way To Amarillo Dawn French - Puddle sketch There are likely many more clips that could be added. Please let me know any good ones that you feel are missing from this YouTube playlist.

MUSIC QUIZ Spotify Playlist link here - Happiness - Ken Dodd What did Ken Dodd used to carry with him during his comedy performances? TICKLING STICK Is anyone in the group ticklish? Get Happy - Judy Garland How old was Judy Garland when ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ was released in November 1939? 17 - SHE WAS BORN 10TH JUNE 1922 It is said that her diet whilst filming was chicken soup, coffee and 80 cigarettes a day. Also she and other actors were prescribed amphetamines. Happy Talk - South Pacific Which artist had a hit with a cover of this song in 1982? CAPTAIN SENSIBLE

I Whistle A Happy Tune - Deborah Kerr

From which musical does this song come from?


Who did Yul Brynner star as in the movie?


Are You Lonesome Tonight - Elvis Presley What made Elvis crack up during this recording of his hit record? BECAUSE THE BACKING SINGER WAS SO OFF KEY Happy Together - The Turtles Go around the room and ask members who their best friend is. Don’t Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin Have members sing or hum along with the chorus, making as much noise as they can. Make Someone Happy - Jimmy Durante What 1993 film starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan featured this song? SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE Oh Happy Day - The Edwin Hawkins Singers This Gospel song features in the ‘Sister Act’ series of films. Who starred in those? WHOOPI GOLDBERG (Have members clap along with the second verse.) When You’re Smiling - Louis Armstrong What do cameramen say when they take a group photograph to make people smile? CHEESE With permission of capacitated individuals or family members, you could take a group photograph to show members a photograph of them with their best smile. Also this helps reinforce the group ethos. (But don’t do this if anyone objects, or prefers not to be photographed.) DO NOT PUBLISH IT! Bring Me Sunshine - Morecombe And Wise What were their Christian names? ERIC & ERNIE Can anyone do the closing credits skip/dance? The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine - Laurel And Hardy What 1937 Laurel And Hardy film featured this song? WAY OUT WEST Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life - Monty Python Thinking of the ‘What have the Romans ever given us’ sketch in ‘The Life Of Brian’, can anyone guess at what benefits were listed? THE AQUEDUCT, SANITATION, ROADS, IRRIGATION, MEDICINE, EDUCATION, WINE, PUBLIC BATHS, PUBLIC ORDER, FRESH WATER SYSTEM, PUBLIC HEALTH, PEACE

(Ask members to whistle along with the chorus) Right Said Fred - Bernard Cribbins Who led the 1980s group named after this song? RICHARD FAIRBRASS Mr Brother - Terry Scott Terry Scott went on to star in the hit TV comedy show ‘Terry And June’ with which co-star? JUNE WHITFIELD The Funky Gibbon - The Goodies Name the three members of ‘The Goodies’? TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR, BILL ODDIE AND GRAHAM GARDEN (Does anyone remember the cat climbing up the Post Office Tower sketch?) Whispering Grass - Windsor Davies and Don Estelle What 1970s TV comedy series did Windsor Davies and Don Estelle star in? IT AIN’T HALF HOT MUM (At the end of each show Windsor Davies would shout? - SHUT UP!) The Laughing Policeman - Charles Penrose Some say laughter is infectious, others say it is the best medicine. The fact of the matter is laughing releases endorphins - the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, and reduces stress hormones. So it is indeed one of the best medicines. Try and get the group to laugh along with the chorus and see if the forced laughter turns into real laughter. Que Sera Sera - Doris Day Who did Doris Day co-star with in many 1950s and 60s romantic comedies, including ‘Pillow Talk’, ‘Lover Come Back’ and ‘Send Me No Flowers’? ROCK HUDSON A Hole In My Bucket - Harry Belafonte and Odetta Listen carefully. Who asked for the water to be fetched and who was to fetch it? LISA & HENRY There Was An Old Lady - Burl Ives How many animals/creatures are named in this song? 8 - FLY, SPIDER, BIRD, CAT, DOG, GOAT, COW & HORSE I'll Be There For You - The Rembrants Name the characters and actors of ‘Friends’? RACHEL GREEN - JENNIFER ANISTON, MONICA GELLER - COURTENEY COX, PHOEBE BUFFAY - LISA KUDROW, JOEY TRIBBIANI - MATT LEBLANC, CHANDLER BING - MATTHEW PERRY & ROSS GELLER - DAVID SCHWIMMER (The coffee shop was ‘Central Perk’.) Thank You Very Much - The Scaffold Go around the room and ask members what they are most thankful for? If this seems inappropriate or too difficult, ask members to name the biscuits mentioned in the song? FAMILY CIRCLE Top Of The World - The Carpenters What were the names of this sister and brother act? KAREN & RICHARD Tears Of A Clown - Smokey Robinson Apart from Clowns, what other acts might you find in a circus? JUGGLER, ACROBAT, TIGHTROPE WALKER, FIRE EATER, UNICYCLIST, KNIFE THROWER TRAPEZE ARTIST & HOPEFULLY NO ANIMALS Ernie - Benny Hill

Does anyone remember having their milk delivered? What was the vehicle called? - MILK FLOAT (The birds would always peck at the gold top full cream milk.) Hello Muddah Hello Fadduh - Allen Sherman Does anyone like camping? What equipment do you need?

TENT, SLEEPING BAG, FOLDING CHAIR, AIRBED, GAS STOVE, KETTLE, MUG, TOILET ROLL, JUMPER, MAC (Does anyone remember the Barbara Windsor ‘Exercise Sketch’ in ‘Carry On Camping’?) Make Me Smile - Cockney Rebel This might be difficult, but as a facilitator your task is to make every member smile. Be open about this, it’s just for fun. Give them the best compliment you can ... Wink at them ... Do a comedy walk ... Tell a joke ... Shake their hand ... Give them a hug ... SMILE AT THEM Happy Shiny People - R.E.M.

Ask members to stand in a circle and hold hands.

Then do their best 'Whoop', starting with hands low and voices as low as they can go, raising their hands and voices until they are high in the air.

The giving themselves a round of applause.

ACTIVITIES One of the facilitators of the group could be asked to volunteer to be made up to look like a clown? Have some face paints, a comedy wig and a colourful t-shirt on standby for this activity. (Have red noses for members to wear.)

Alternatively buy some long balloons to blow up and make shapes out of. There are several YouTube clips which can be used as a guide. We also have used, with great success, a rainbow coloured parachute, large enough for everyone to hold, with a balloon or ball in he centre. Rolling it to each member, getting it to touch the ceiling, and doing some exercises through movement whilst using it, e.g. bend your knees, stretch your arms, stand on one leg etc. It’s usually a source of great mirth.

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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