TV presenter Dick gets campaign off to a flying start

Richard McCourt, centre,  launched Dementia Awareness Week, on The Moor, with a balloon release
Richard McCourt, centre, launched Dementia Awareness Week, on The Moor, with a balloon release
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A POPULAR kids’ TV show presenter gave a lift to a campaign raising awareness of dementia by turning out for a balloon release in Sheffield city centre.

Richard McCourt, best known as one half of TV duo Dick and Dom, attended the event on The Moor organised by the Alzheimer’s Society to mark the start of Dementia Awareness Week yesterday.

The theme this year is Remember The Person and focuses on people being able to lead fulfilling lives whilst living with the condition.

The former Tapton School pupil’s mum was diagnosed with dementia aged just 58, and died six years later.

Richard, originally from Lodge Moor, said: “I’m really happy to be here supporting the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Awareness Week as it is such a worthwhile cause.

“This year’s theme is particularly important as it is vital that we spread the message about putting the person before the illness and making sure people with dementia are still treated as people.

“I have experienced first hand the person-centred services offered to people with dementia in Sheffield and this week is also a great opportunity to celebrate the work going on in the city.”

A host of events have been organised across the region as part of the week, including charity workers out and about on The Moor again today and tomorrow offering information and advice, and a tea dance welcoming David Blunkett MP at the United Reform Church in the city centre on Friday from 10am until 12.30pm.

The Woodlands older person’s unit – built and run by the Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and based on the Rotherham Hospital site – is also hosting an information display spreading information and advice about the condition.

Maria Flude, from the Sheffield branch of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We need to tackle the myths surrounding dementia if we are to ensure people with dementia are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

“These events are great opportunity to learn about how you can offer your support to a family living with dementia and really help improve someone’s quality of life.”

The charity is also hoping that local businesses and residents will get behind the week and host their own fundraiser around the theme of afternoon tea to generate more cash for people with the condition and their carers.

There are an estimated 7,000 people living with dementia in Sheffield, along with thousands more who do not yet have an official diagnosis.

n The Star would like to apologise for an error which appeared on the front page of yesterday’s newspaper when a photograph of Margaret and Roy Flinders was wrongly captioned and said to be Kes author Barry Hines and his wife Eleanor. We apologise for any distress caused.