THE original black chair from Mastermind is coming to Dunfermline for a special event to celebrate 10 years of Playlist for Life.

Writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson will bring the most famous seat on TV to the Glen Pavilion for a fun version of the quiz show in aid of the charity she founded to help people with dementia.

'Mastermind in the Park' will take place on Saturday March 23 with celebrity guests including writer Val McDermid, weather forecaster Judith Ralston, TV presenter JJ Chalmers and broadcaster Martin Geissler.

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Sally told the Press: "It's in aid of Playlist for Life and what we're doing for the after dinner entertainment, uniquely probably, is I'm bringing along the original Mastermind chair which my father (Magnus Magnusson) was presented with when the show ended after 25 years.

Dunfermline Press: The late Mastermind quiz show host Magnus Magnusson. The late Mastermind quiz show host Magnus Magnusson. (Image: PA)

"It started up again later but when the first incarnation ended he was presented with the chair and it lived in his house.

"When he died it came to my house, we have it in the living room, and I'm bringing it to Dunfermline.

"So we'll have a round of general knowledge and we have four celebrity guests who have volunteered to answer the questions.

"I will be the quiz mistress, the chair will be there and we're hoping to have a lot of fun."

As well as a three course dinner and the fun version of Mastermind, music will be provided by the Razz Big Band and, in keeping with the Playlist connection, guests will be able to request a song from a list of 50 pieces.

There will also be a raffle and on online auction.

The event chairman, Angus Hogg, said: "Ten years ago, Sally Magnusson founded the inspiring Playlist for Life charity to promote the use of personally meaningful music to improve the lives of people living with dementia.

"Since then it has helped countless families across the UK to connect and thrive through music."

He said Dunfermline has played its part as the pilot scheme was launched here, the charity's head office used to be based here and the now city of Dunfermline was the first 'Playlist town in Scotland'. 

Mr Hogg added that it was fitting that the celebration of the charity's 10th anniversary would be held in Pittencrieff Park.

Sally founded the Playlist for Life charity in 2013 after the death of her mother, Mamie, who had dementia.

She said: "It did start with my mum. I wrote a book, a sort of memoir really, about the experience of caring for her with dementia and how difficult it all became, as it does for so many families.

Dunfermline Press: The event will take place in the Glen Pavilion, Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline.The event will take place in the Glen Pavilion, Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline. (Image: Newsquest)

"We had noticed while looking after her that music was able to revive her most wonderfully, she still knew the words to songs.

"By the end we were really almost communicating entirely in songs with her to perk up her mood or help with agitation.

"When I came to writing the book I did some research into the effect of music on the brain and discovered this was a universal phenomenon, that music was able to bypass many of the damaged parts of the brain."

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She continued: "I started Playlist for Life to tell people about this so the families of people with dementia, and those in the early stages themselves, would know this is something they can do.

"It's not a cure of course but it's a way of keeping connected with yourself, connected with your family and enjoying periods of wellbeing and happiness despite having this awful disease.

"Our message is very much that it's not enough to just stick a radio on for somebody and hope that they will enjoy listening to old tunes.

"It's very much a personalised intervention, an individual's soundtrack to their life.

"It started with i-Pods but you can use just about any device.

"If you've got a phone or i-Pad, that's great, Spotify is really useful too, but if you're of a vintage where you'd be more comfortable with a CD collection, that's fine too.

"The key thing is if you're doing it for someone else to either talk to them or the people that know them to get that personal list of songs or music or theme tunes or whatever it is."

Music can help soothe dementia sufferers during activities that can be stressful or upsetting, such as meal times and bath times, and some care homes have found they've been able to reduce the medication they give to residents as, instead of issuing a sedative, they can put on a personal playlist instead.

As well as presenting the news on BBC Reporting Scotland, Sally has written a number of books - notably about her mum in 'Where Memories Go' - and her most recent novel, 'Music in the Dark', is now out in paperback.

She chaired Playlist for Life for a number of years and remains on the board as honorary president, adding: "Music does have a tremendous influence. There was an old lady who seemed to be very out of it, being pushed around in a wheelchair, and her carer stopped to do something.

"On came the song 'Please Mr Postman', he looked around and this woman who seconds ago had been slumped in her chair and apparently dead to the world, had started tapping her hands on the side of the chair, her foot was moving up and down, her head was up and she had a look in her eye.

"The carer asked, although she didn't really speak very much, if she knew the song and she just said 'My husband'.

"He went to find out more about her and sure enough, her husband had been a postman long before and that song had brought back her marriage, her husband.

"Who knows what form the memories took but it made her feel good, activated all those connections in the brain that allowed her to tap her feet and her hands, and smile and speak.

"It's wonderful stuff."

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