When Tony Richmond first visited Mountbatten Hospice over a year ago, he was withdrawn, isolated, and struggling to come to terms with what was happening to him. 

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in his late 50s, Tony, a former professional drummer and singer, also had to contend with bladder cancer four years later.

His condition means Tony, 67, from Eastleigh has lost the strength to walk and has affected his coordination, forcing him to give up playing his beloved instruments, but music therapy sessions at the hospice have given him the opportunity to reconnect with them. Music therapy has been one of the new services introduced at Mountbatten Hospice since becoming an independent charity in April 2019.

Working alongside music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, Mountbatten Hospice has been able to give Tony part of his life back.

Despite finding it difficult to speak, the sessions have enabled Tony to rediscover his love for music and he has enjoyed singing again. 

“I feel at home with the kit around me and I have the confidence to sing,” said Tony, who is supported by his wife and full-time carer, Vicki.

The change in Tony’s mood has been noted by clinical staff at the hospice. 

Dr Sarah De Vos, consultant in palliative care medicine at Countess Mountbatten, said music therapy had been better than any drug she could have prescribed.  

“For Tony, music therapy has provided a platform to be the expert again, sharing his vast knowledge, experience and love of drumming and rock music with me,” said music therapist Alison Hughes.

“Because of Parkinson’s and cancer, Tony had lost independence, purpose and control.

“Through working at songs together he has regained those things.  He shares memories with a fellow musician and in doing so has given recognition to the incredible profession he has had in music. 

“No matter what his body is going through, alongside facing the painful reality of his increasing physical limitations, the musician inside him remains. “

Tony visits Mountbatten Hospice every Monday. 

“Music therapy sessions have given Tony a real boost to his mental wellbeing,” said Vicki.

“Not only have they given him an opportunity to play and sing again, they have also given him someone who understands music and is happy to share all things musical. Tony really looks forward to his sessions.”