A TELEVISION programme focusing on rural isolation is to feature the story of a Tarset man who lost his wife to dementia earlier this year.

The episode of the BBC’s Countryfile will look at how local choir, the Song Reivers, brings people together in the area around the secluded hamlet, with viewers hearing the experiences of 80-year-old resident Rex Cooper.

Rex lost his wife of 54 years, Pat, to dementia earlier this year, aged 77, and they were both members of the choir.

“Pat was a highly-intelligent individual, as well as being vivacious and funny, so the diagnosis came as a shock,” he explained

“For the following two years she refused to accept it and did not want friends and family to know.

“But, of course, they could see for themselves that she was not her old self, which made the situation very difficult for me. It put me in the awful position of having to betray her because I had to confide in people without her knowing I’d done so.

“For some people, there is a stigma attached to dementia, so at first Pat was embarrassed about it. It took a couple of years for her to accept it but once she did our lives became better. We both knew what we were dealing with.”

Rex received support and guidance from the Alzheimer’s Society over a number of years following Pat’s diagnosis.

They were both members of the Song Reivers choir, and Pat continued to sing with them after her diagnosis until 2015, when her condition began to deteriorate, which Rex believed was a huge benefit to her.

“The choir really helped to bring people together and Pat loved it,” Rex said.

“She was able to continue singing long after her diagnosis in 2012. I believe the music and social interaction that came from being involved benefited her.

“After she stopped going, the choir came to us, singing Christmas carols at our house two years in succession, and they also sang at her funeral in January.”

Countryfile will be broadcast on Sunday, December 23, at 5.20pm.