A documentary depicting the lives of a group of dementia sufferers, including Holocaust survivors, who have turned to singing has won a major international award.

Lucy Kaye of Second Avenue, Walthamstow spent several months making ‘Memory Songs’ which tells the stories of the pensioners in the singing group at the Jewish Liberal Synagogue in St John’s Wood.

The mother-of-two’s documentary won first prize in the ‘films that reflect the Jewish experience’ category at the Rhode Island Film Festival in the United States.

Ms Kaye, 42, travelled to the US earlier this month to accept her award.

She said: “I was so moved by these elderly people, most in their late 80s and 90s, who have lived such diverse and rich lives.

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“Some survived the Holocaust, others had been professional footballers, some were artists. In spite of their illness, all carry that spark of life within them.

“They welcomed me into their homes, told me their life stories and talked of the trials and tribulations of living with or caring for someone with dementia.

“I feel immensely privileged to have had the opportunity to spend time with such interesting and inspiring people.”

Singing for the Mind, run by Judith Silver, meets weekly at the synagogue and has about 30 members.

In the past Ms Kaye has worked on documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Vice and The Guardian.

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The documentary explores the lives of Jewish pensioners, some of whome have survived the Holocaust.

She believes her documentary, which also won the Pears Short Film award at the Jewish Festival earlier this year, impressed judges because dementia is something a wide audience can relate to.

“Even though they are all Jewish it kind of speaks to people universally,” she said.

“It was such an amazing experience for me and I learned loads on so many different levels.

“There was one gentleman in particular I remember who could not speak or walk and when the group would start singing he would open his eyes and respond.

“For some of the people it is the only time in the week that someone calls their name. People would get up and start dancing and it was amazing to see.

“I cannot praise the work that Singing for the Mind does enough and to have experienced first-hand the power music can have in bringing people back to themselves.”

Singing for the Mind sessions are free to attend and donations are welcome. For information about how to join click here