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Norwich unites in song to beat dementia

PUBLISHED: 13:19 20 December 2018

Alzheimer’s Society Carols at Christmas in St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. Picture: Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer's Society Carols at Christmas in St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. Picture: Alzheimer's Society

Alzheimer’s Society

More than 200 people got into the festive spirit at an uplifting carol service to support those affected by dementia.

Martin Anderton and Alzheimer’s Society Side by Side volunteer Andrew Hardwick gave a special reading at the Alzheimer’s Society Carols at Christmas event. Picture: Alzheimer’s SocietyMartin Anderton and Alzheimer’s Society Side by Side volunteer Andrew Hardwick gave a special reading at the Alzheimer’s Society Carols at Christmas event. Picture: Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer’s Society’s annual Carols at Christmas returned to St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich, on Wednesday night, with performances from local choirs, guest readings and festive refreshments.

Olly Larkin, Alzheimer’s Society community fundraiser for Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, including 14,000 people in Norfolk.

“This year’s event took on a special significance as 2019 will mark the start of our 40th anniversary year, celebrating our story so far and our on-going commitment to stopping dementia in its tracks.”

Highlights from last night’s concert included performances from Norfolk Suzuki Group, Broadbeat Choir and the Emergency Services Choir. Introducing the concert on the night was county councillor Dan Roper.

A special reading was also delivered by Martin Anderton and Andrew Hardwick, a Side by Side match – Alzheimer’s Society’s initiative, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, which helps to reconnect people living with dementia with their community and favourite pastime, using a new approach to volunteering.

Mr Anderton, of Surlingham, was diagnosed with Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) in 2016, a rarer type of dementia which causes damage at the back of the brain.

Once a fortnight, Mr Anderton looks forward to a visit from Side by Side volunteer Mr Hardwick. The pair were delighted to be asked to share their experience with those attending the event.

Mr Hardwick, from Norwich, said: “The event was a great way to embrace the festivities while also helping to make a difference to those affected by dementia. I looked for volunteering opportunities once I retired from work.

“I wanted to find something that I knew would help someone on a one-to-one basis. Side by Side is perfect and really works well for the both of us. I have an aunt living with vascular dementia which is why I looked to the Alzheimer’s Society for ways to help.”

Mr Larkin added: “We have had another great event with smiles all around.

“Money raised from the concert will help Alzheimer’s Society’s tireless work to challenge perceptions, fund research and improve and provide care and support.

“We could not have come this far without the fantastic support we enjoy, but there’s still a long way to go before we win the fight against dementia.

“I want to also say a big thank you to the East of England Co-op Funeral Services and Broadland Wineries for sponsoring the event, providing festive refreshments for everyone to enjoy.”

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