Chart-topping Edinburgh woman, 84, with dementia records new track to keep residents' spirits high during coronavirus crisis

The first time round it was about topping the charts for charity...

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 7:30 am

But over the past six months, Edinburgh care home resident Margaret Mackie has been singing throughout the Covid-19 crisis to keep those around her in good spirits.

The 84-year-old, who has dementia and is from Linlithgow, has now recorded a heartwarming rendition of the track 'I love you because' based on the 1963 cover version by Jim Reeves.

The song was a favourite of Margaret’s late husband, Philip Mackie, a former deputy editor of the Edinburgh Evening News and crime reporter at the Daily Record who later took up roles as assistant press secretary to The Queen and to Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

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Margaret Mackie has recorded a new track.

Margaret's latest recording comes months after she became a viral sensation with a video showing her singing Frank Sinatra's My Way with her former carer, Jamie Lee Morley, at the Northcare Suites Care Home Christmas Do.

‘It’s been getting her through this’

Her daughter, Mairi Hunter, says her mother has been singing to her every day during lockdown. She said: "It's what has been keeping her going, definitely.

"She has been singing it down the phone to me most days. Singing is all she has got just now and it's been getting her through this. It's helped her and I think everyone else in there.”

Margaret Mackie.

Mairi says the coronavirus restrictions on care home visits have been detrimental to her mother and other residents suffering from dementia, as they struggle to grasp why families have been unable to come and see them.

Next week, Mairi will be able to visit her mother indoors for the first time in months without having to converse by Skype or through the railings of a gate.

Mairi, 56, added: "I used to go in most days to see her and that stopped overnight. It's been heartbreaking.

"I absolutely miss her and to everyone who has a parent or relative in a care home, it's been horrendous.

Margaret and Jamie in the studio recording a duet of Frank Sinatra's My Way.

"But deep down she is happy and hopefully this song is a comfort to other families going through the same thing.”

In January, Margaret and her carer Jamie defied the odds by soaring into the top 10 of the iTunes top 40 UK Pop Songs live chart - above tracks by MIley Cyrus, James Blunt and Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber.

All proceeds from the song were split between the Alzheimer's Society and Dementia UK.

Jamie said previously that he bonded with Margaret over their shared love for music when he noticed her singing along to Elvis on TV in the lounge, not long after she moved to the home in October 2019.

Jamie said the music helps take dementia sufferers back in time and brings out the best memories that people can lose along the way.

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