Stars line up to beat dementia

Former referee Uriah Rennie and football star Robbie Savage
Former referee Uriah Rennie and football star Robbie Savage

A dementia charity is calling on people in South Tyneside and Sunderland to unite in the fight against an illness which is set to become the 21st century’s biggest killer.

The Alzheimer’s Society has launched a new campaign calling on people across South Tyneside to put aside their differences - age, tastes and social standing - and have a better understanding of the condition.

The campaign is being backed by celebrities and sports stars including former football star Robbie Savage, former referee Uriah Rennie, comedian Jo Brand and Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell.

Figures released from an Ipsos MORI survey revealed a lack of public understanding about the looming health crisis.

A survey shows 58% of North East adults aged between 16 and 75 believe that, if they had dementia, they would feel their life was effectively over.

Former Wales International footballer Savage lost his father, Colin, to younger onset dementia, which affects more than 40,000 people in the UK.

He said: “People think dementia is an old person’s condition but it isn’t. My dad was struck down in his prime.”

There are an estimated 35,000 people living with dementia in the North East.

Hazel Cuthbertson, regional operations manager for Alzheimer’s Society in the North East, said: “We’re determined to bring everyone’s attention to the massive injustice faced by people with dementia and their carers.

“We urgently need people to unite with us to improve care, offer help and understanding to those affected, and find a cure.”

Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity, urging everyone to get involved, whether it is becoming a Dementia Friend, campaigning or donating to fund research for a cure.