It is estimated that some 16,400 people in Norfolk are living with dementia, either diagnosed or undiagnosed.  

Many city folk have stories to tell about how the disease has affected them or their loved ones, including Chris Varley.  

The 52-year-old, who lives in Earlham Road, has seen what dementia can do to a family firsthand.  

His mum, Elaine, 76, was diagnosed six years ago and now it is suspected his dad, Stuart, 77, has it too.  

Norwich Evening News: Chris Varley says that it has been very difficult to watch his parents go through this

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Chris believes that his mum quietly knew that she was suffering with the illness for a while before they all found out.  

He said: “Mum started doing word searches and crossword puzzles, which she had never done before – it was her response to getting muddled sometimes.  

“It was hard when she started becoming more withdrawn in conversations and was losing confidence.” 

Norwich Evening News: It is suspected that Chris's dad, Stuart is also suffering from the disease

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Elaine is now at an advanced stage and has part of the disease called sundowning.  

Chris said: “This is where she feels like she is being held captive, she can get assertive or aggressive while trying to escape.  

“And when she does, she will make a run for it.” 

Chris explains it like his mother is going backwards through each year of her life and is almost at childhood now.  

Norwich Evening News: Elaine and Stuart have been married for 57 years, dementia has erased those memories for Elaine

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He said: “The disease has erased the 57 years she’s been married.  

“When you ask her name, she will tell you her maiden name and she says she is trying to get back to her childhood house.” 

A few months ago, Chris’s world came crashing down when his mum was talking about how much she disliked having strangers in her home and that she didn’t want them there anymore.  

Norwich Evening News: Chris hopes to raise lots of money so future generations don't have to watch their parents go

“the more she talked about it, I realised that she was talking about me – she didn’t know who I was.  

“I wrapped my arms around her and told her that she gave birth to me and she just started to cry. It is really difficult.” 

Watching his mum's decline has inspired Chris to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society in the hope that future generations will not have to go through the same pain.

He said: “A number of us will be doing a 26-mile walk around London to raise money for Alzheimer's Society with Trek 26.  

“But because we would all be going to the same pool of friends for donations, I thought it would be good to set up a charity ball too.” 

The ball is set to be a night of good food, laughter and music to raise money for the charity.  

It is being held at Wensum Valley Hotel in Taverham and has a capacity of 200, with more than 100 tickets being sold already.  

Chris said: “Guests will be able to walk away with great prizes which include nights away, and experiences that would usually cost more than £300.  

“We have had so much help from businesses – they have been amazing in supporting this event.” 

The Spring Charity Ball is being held on Saturday, May 6 from 7pm until midnight and tickets are available for £50 per person from

Chris added: “I have been really shocked at just how many people this disease has touched.  

“I hope to raise lots of money so we can fight back.”  

Ignite Party Band will be providing the entertainment, with a three-course dinner and a charity auction.