Claire Priestwood has joined the UK’s leading dementia research charity as Regional Fundraising Officer, working to raise vital funds and awareness for the charity across Yorkshire, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. Claire, who is based in Halifax, is urging people in the region to join her in the fight against dementia, which currently affects more than 100,000 people in the area – and she is seeking volunteers to help with a street collection at Leeds railway station this month.
Claire will help support the charity’s many committed fundraisers in the region, and she hopes to inspire even more people to help raise much-needed money for research. She is keen to hear from anyone with a fundraising idea, as well as those who need inspiration to get started and anyone who wants to set up a local fundraising group for the charity.
Her call is backed by the Brighter Skies fundraising group, from Spennymoor, County Durham, which is currently celebrating its fifth year. It’s members have raised nearly £30,000 in the last five years to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK. The group’s treasurer, Margaret Gibson, said:
“All of us have seen friends and family affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, so we know what a huge impact the condition can have. Our experiences brought us together as we wanted to do something to help find the treatments that are so desperately needed. Raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK gives us a positive focus, and we love getting together as a team to plan our activities. We would welcome more members if anyone would like to join us, and we’d be thrilled if people in other towns followed suit and set up their own fundraising groups too.”
Claire is also looking for people who can spare some time to help with a bucket collection at Leeds railway station, which is due to take place from 7am to 7pm on Thursday 27 November.
Alzheimer’s Research UK supporter Natalie Robb, from Leeds, has already stepped forward to volunteer her time to help with the collection this month. She said:
“I was inspired to get involved with Alzheimer’s Research UK after my grandfather was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. He was the most amazing, generous man and when he retired he volunteered to help stroke survivors have a better life. He was always a very gentle person but the disease has changed his character and he now needs full time care in a home. He and my grandma have been married for over 50 years and it’s heartbreaking to see the effect on them.
“It’s easy to feel helpless, but by raising money for research I feel I’m doing something positive and maybe I won’t have to see anyone else I love go through this. I’m pleased be helping with the collection this month and I’d encourage anyone else to get involved too.”
“In my first few weeks with Alzheimer’s Research UK I’ve already met many wonderful fundraisers who are going above and beyond to support our work. Research is the answer to dementia, and for many people who’ve seen its effects first-hand, raising money for research can be a powerful way of standing up against the condition.
“Thanks to existing support, we are funding over £2m of pioneering research in the region, including ground-breaking projects in Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds, York, and Newcastle but we need more support to help us increase our investment. Anyone who can spare even an hour to help us collect in Leeds this month will be welcomed – every £20 raised is enough to fund an hour of research, bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, treat and prevent dementia. I’d urge anyone who wants to support our research to contact me to find out how they can get involved.”