SO-CALLED ‘reminiscence groups’ have become a popular activity for people with dementia over recent years with medical evidence suggesting they encourage empathy, good relationships and social interaction between people with dementia and others.

For one such group in Astley Bridge, the chance to regularly look back and remember the likes of Dobson and Barlow, Bolton Co-operative Society and Trinity Street, has become a welcome refuge for all manner of people keen to share their memories or learn something new about Bolton’s history.

“The group had been meeting in Astley Bridge for some 17 years, “ said Norman Hindley, who organises the sessions. “First we were in Astley Bridge Library, then at the closure of the library the leaders of Astley Bridge Baptist Church very kindly allowed us to meet in the chapel. Sadly, after a few years the numbers coming to the meeting started to dwindle and it was decided to fold.

“However, during the time we met at the chapel I was approached by a couple of organisations asking if I would like to hold a reminiscence meeting for them. I took up one of the invitations as a one off and held a meeting supported by members from the chapel at All Souls in Astley Street. On hearing that the group had finished meeting, I was approached by All Souls and also Halliwell Local History Society with a view to starting a Reminiscence Group as joint effort, and we have been meeting at All Souls since June 2017.”

Since then the group has gone from strength to strength with Norman working hard to ensure as many topics are discussed.

He added: “We all have different interesting memories of the past and as people share it triggers off other people recollections which lead us into other subjects.

“It is a light hearted free morning which can be enjoyed by young and old, people living on their own, lonely people, and we have found that people have made new friends at the meeting especially over a cup of tea”

Meetings take place on the first Wednesday of every month at 10am in All Souls on the corner of Astley and Wolfenden Street. Admission is free.