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Former Eastern education chief urges more people to be dementia research heroes

Former Eastern education chief urges more people to be dementia research heroes

A former Deputy Director for Education has become Norfolk’s newest NIHR Join Dementia Research Champion and is urging people to take part in research. Tony Jackson, 79, from Costessey, says people have everything to gain from signing-up to Join Dementia Research (www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk) a service that matches volunteers to local studies.

Tony’s new role will see him working closely with patients and health professionals to raise awareness of how people can get involved to help in the fight to beat dementia. There are over 850,000 people living with Dementia in the UK and North Norfolk has one of the highest rates of diagnosis in England. Over 40,000 people have signed-up nationwide with nearly 3,000 of those living in Norfolk. However, only 500 of those registered in Norfolk have a diagnosis and more volunteers are needed.

Tony, who began his career as a teacher before working his way up to the role of Norfolk Deputy Director of Education, has volunteered in various roles since his retirement. He became interested in the Join Dementia Research Champion role after hearing about the work being done by Join Dementia Research to engage the public in the fight against the condition.

He said, “Dementia is a huge problem, so the need to find ways of identifying and tackling it at an early stage is tremendously important. Join Dementia Research is a great way of doing that”.

He stressed that volunteers are at the heart of research, “There is a lot of research going on but not enough volunteers. And unless people volunteer we won’t be able to make improvements to treatments and care.

Tony believes people can be heroes by taking part in research, “The real heroes aren’t just the researchers, but the volunteers too. The more people get involved the more everyone can benefit and there is everything to gain from registering. Real progress can be made and you can genuinely make a difference”.

Dr Helen Macdonald, Chief Operating Officer for NIHR’s Clinical Research Network in the Eastern region said, “Volunteers play a vital role in raising awareness of NIHR research and helping our teams. We can’t thank Tony and others like him enough for the help and experience they bring.

To find out more about getting involved in all NIHR research visit www.bepartofresearch.uk.