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You are in: Cambridgeshire > Features > People Like You > Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell

Malcolm Pointon

Malcolm Pointon

Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell

Barbara Pointon, widow of Malcolm, the subject of a TV documentary about the devastating effects of Alzheimer's, talked to BBC Radio Cambridgehire's Andie Harper about her decision to allow her husband's last days to be filmed...

Alzheimer's Disease

Dementia affects one in 20 people over the age of 65 and one in five over the age of 80.

Over 700,000 people in the UK have dementia. More than half have Alzheimer's Disease.

For information and advice on Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia call the Alzheimer's Society national helpline on 0845 300 0336.

Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell

Film-maker Paul Watson spent 11 years with Malcolm and Barbara Pointon making a documentary which shows the devastating effects Alzheimer's Disease has on both its sufferers and their loved ones.

Malcolm Pointon was a talented pianist and lecturer, from Thriplow. He developed the disease when he was 51.

In the documentary, shown on Wednesday 8th August, 2007, Barbara said of Malcolm: "These are the hands that once flew over the piano keys. And the hands that once caressed."

She went on to say: "Thank you for all the laughter and the love that this house was always filled with.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease of the brain that is severely debilitating and eventually terminal. It is not merely a symptom of old age. As the disease progresses people with dementia need high levels of care. Barbara is a campaigning member of the Alzheimer's Society and has appeared on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in the past to talk about the lack of free nursing care available to those with the disease.

Malcolm Pointon died in February, 2007.

Advisory role for Barbara Pointon

Since the documentary was aired, Barbara is to be made a government advisor on dementia.

She told the BBC: "It feels absolutely wonderful because this is precisely why we allowed the camera to see the detail of living with Alzheimer's and I now feel I might be in a position not to just whinge about problems but to do something to put things right - it's such a wonderful legacy."

Listen again to Barbara Pointon talking to Andie Harper on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, about her decision to allow the filming of Malcolm's last days.

Wednesday 1st August - Alzheimer's: Malcolm Pointon's widow, Barbara, talks to Andie Harper on the Mid-morning Show, 10am-1pm

ITV has admitted that a Cambridgeshire man who apparently died while being filmed for a programme about Alzheimer's Disease, lived for two-and-a-half more days.

Executives say it wasn't made clear during previews that the documentary, Malcolm and Barbara: Love's Farewell, doesn't show the actual moment of Malcolm Pointon's death.

His widow, Barbara, told Andie Harper that the decision to stop filming two days before his death was the right one. She praised the film which she says shows how inadequate funding is for Alzheimer's patients.

last updated: 10/08/07

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Charlotte Finn
I commend Barbara. My gran died of Dimentia last october and the pain and suffering me and all my famiily had to go through was unbearable. One of the homes she was in left her in her own waste with a broken hip for 8hours which is disgusting! Not enough is done for people with Dimentia that is why the alzheimers society is fantastic and i will do anything to get involved. God Bless barbara

I am a 38 year old man, and I live in Canada. Today is January 13/2009, and I just finished watching this very touching documentary tonight on television for the first time. I don't know if Barbara Pointon will ever read this message, but if she does, I want her to know that I believe she is an angel on earth. I would like to wish her all the best that life has to offer, and I pray for her that she finds all the happiness that she so deserves. I hope she has found a very special man to share her life with, and that she feels the warm caress of a loving touch once again. You are an amazing women Barbara, and may God Bless you always. I cried several times as I watched this documentary. I believe it was Barbara's remarkable compassion, and her beautiful love for Malcolm that brought me to tears more than anything. Everyone in the world (including Barbara) deserves to find such an honest, and genuine love as Malcolm did. Malcolm was a very lucky man to have such a wonderful woman, and I'm sure he is waiting with open arms to hold his true love once again. Thank you for making me feel the way I do about you Barbara.

sandra wilcock
i have just watched the documentory that i recorded some three months later i agreed with the comments of barbera at the time of the programme but felt too vulnerable to watch at the time after watching today i admire this lady so much i care for my mother who had o stroke 15 yrs ago and as some lesser form of dementia and theres not enough done i also hold down a full time job working with challenging behaviours and have been at the receiving end of similar physical attacks, good luck for the future barbara you deserve, it and to all the critics you want to try doing the (job) for a week then you might understand someones point of view when its done out of love a little

A very good programme I showed deepest sympathy for Barbara and her whole family throughout. I have lived what Barbara has been through with my grandmother, it is truely an heart breaking illness. To watch someone you care so deeply for become someone they are not.I wish all the best for the family and their future and never forget the person he was. God bless to you all

Very commendable. I congratulate the woman for displaying immense courage and will even during the final hours of her husband. I am submitting a project on the effects of this disease and their documentary made me realise how traumatic, painful and depressing it could be to see someone we love, so olivious/obscure to their surroundings. It made me run to my mother, cry on her shoulders and hug her, glad to realise that she knew me enough to hug me back.God Bless!

Doreen Brown
I have been a social worker for too many years in child care, mental health and finally working with older people. I was privilidged to hear Barabara at a conference at the UEA . I just wish to express my view that Barbara is a very special person as was Malcolm. It is unfortunate that the media questioned such a beautiful documentary with such feeling. Also please pass my thanks to the director and staff- be proud and I wish you all happiness, wealth and good health in your future XXXX

Love's farewell was one of the most moving and emotional programmes i have ever seen. Days later and i still can't get the images or words out of my head. My heart goes out to Malcolm's family as they cope with their loss. As a 20 year old man i have lost all my grandparents and the images i saw on wednesday brought back the memories of their final days. It is shocking that the NHS do not provide more treatment or care for Dementia or Alzheimers and to be honest, i have lost my faith in the entire health system.

Ivy Parker.
We should be fair and more considerate to our people. After all look how Malcom taught his pupils. Then he needed help which in due faith should have been more easily available.Bless them both. xx

Lynette Oldfield
I watched the film and found it so very moving.The commitment and love shown to Malcolm by his wife Barbara moved me to tears,she was and is a brave and courageous lady who worked tirelessly to show the world the suffering of a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease.I wish her all the best for the future and hope that she finds peace and contentment.God Bless Barbara.

I have been a nurse for over twenty years. I have nursed many people who have suffered and have died partly from this disease. I feel that this was a very brave and moving life event to film.I think it shows both Malcolm and Barbara as being a great and loving couple. They have raised the awareness of this disease and of people dying from it. As a nurse I have seen the terrible effects that Alzheimer's has on both the sufferer and their family.I too have had family members with some of these health isssues .There should be more help and funding.As people are now living longer, we are now more aware that this is becoming a real, increasing health problem, which, can strike any one.However, I found that watching Malcolm and Barbara was painful to watch at times. But, the true pain was that of what they experienced.Lets us hope and pray that help is indeed given to both the suffers and carers of those with Alzheimer's disease.I would like to send my reguards to both Barbara and her family. Yours Becky

Pam McGibbon
I heard the discussions on the radio, with Paul Watson, regarding whether or not Malcolm Pointon had died while being filmed, or two days later. I was so saddened to hear how Paul Watson was devastated by all this 'row' about something that I felt, when watching this wonderful documentary, was not that important. Whether Malcolm had died at that moment, or two days later, the message was the same and I would like to send this message to Paul Watson to tell him that he made a remarkable film in the very best of taste and with what appeared to be great love and care. Please do not be discouraged from further film-making.

I watched the documentary as my boyfriend's mother has early onset Alzheimer's.I just wanted to thank Barbara and Malcolm for letting the programme be made and aired. Hopefully there will be a change to the way this awful disease is dealt with and that more support will be offered to the sufferers and their families.

Amy Summers
I watched this doc last night and it was an amazing insight into a carers life and the bond of love between two people it was like watching my grandparents and helped my understand from my nans situation of a career what a strain on her life it is but it is her love for my grandad that helps her carry on.

Ali McConnell
i watched this with much saddness,Barbara to me was so honest and very brave.It was a ery sad end to a very happy couple

Jane Goodridge
I am a Nurse at Addenbrookes Hospitial & I watched this programme last night as there was so much talk about it.We as health professionals do not always do what Barbara said & drug up patients. When her husband was unable to take his medicine there are other things that could have been done without being too invasive & to see him skin & bones was ok for me but I am sure it will have upset some people.There is also lots of help out there & this did not come across positively in the programme

Pamela Gall
I watched you programme about Malcolm and Barbara Pointon and would like to say that it was a vey moving programme. I can relate to this courageous lady as my mother is a dimentia victim and as a family we have experienced the lack of assistance from the NHS. We are now faced with having to sell my mother's home (our family home) to fund her twenty four hour care. I have tried in vain, writing to Parlimentary Members and the Secretary of State for Wales asking, why the elderly people, (the backbone of our Society), are not being cared for with funding, when they so desperately need it. Barbara Pointon, really did hit home on a 'sore subject' and I hope that the Health Minister was watching the programme and felt ashamed of the government that he supports for the suffering and anguish they cause to so many sufferers and their families and carers. God forgive that they ever have to endure what, that lady, myself and many other people have to endure because of lack of funding from a government who just don't care about their elderly sick people.

jacqueline hill
my husband had dementia for 7 years untill he died age 62 18th jan im 49 our daughter is 16 we also had a bad time of it trying to get help and was blacked mail like u saying they would put him in a home we cared 4 him 4 7 years now were suffering from deppresion cant get no help or benifits sorted going to loose ur family home take care love jackie

veronica barton
Barbara,Thankyou for allowing me to be an observer in your joy, happiness, love,laughter and also your sadness and despair of Malcolms illness. You are obviously an articulate,intelligent,brave, sensitive lady. I admire your honesty. You are absolutely right to challenge the care system that is sadly ill equipped to support families in need. A thought provoking programm! May you find love and laughter again in the future.Veronica (a senior nurse in Cardiology)

Miss D Drew
I feel i have to say, as a nurse who cares for alzheimer patients frequently in my job, that Barbara Pointon is an amazing woman. The programme was a most sensitive but detrimental peice of work, which i pray increases public awareness into how little support these patients and their carers actually get from the trust / government. By providing the excellent love and care that she gave,Barbara ensured Malcolms life ended as peacefully and comfortably as it did. Now it is time Barbara was rewarded and the government use her comments and story to re evaluate how money can change the future of providing better healthcare in these circumstances. After all, it has been proven that nursing patients at home costs far less than taking up a hospital bed. So lets give these family carers the support they deserve. I wish Barbara the very best in her future.

Im A Student Nurse, Just Want To Say Thank You To Everyone Involved In Producing Malcoms Story. It Was Very Upsetting To Watch, And I Think Barbara Was Very Brave And Her Courage Has Taught Me Alot. Just Like To Wish Her All The Best For The Future, And I Firmly Believe In Everything She Had To Say About The NHS, And The Pen Pushers (Very Spot On). I Hope And Pray For All Of Malcoms Family.

Tracy Watson
What a journey you guys have been through. We went through a similar one with my granny so we share your are a wonderful woman Barbara as I am sure Malcolm was in his hay day. Thank you to you and your family for sharing this with us…you have shown integrity, bravery and dedication. You gave your husband dignity and the world some eyes. You give the word LOVE some real meaning. An insight which I will not forget…Thank you.

Nicola Long
My Dad is dying of Alzheimers, he is 57. He has had the disease for 4 years now and me and my Mum struggle to cope. We long for the day when we will all be released from the living hell we go through. Why is free care not available to us???

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