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Dementia Friends

Alzheimer’s Society Launches Dementia Friends

Today sees the launch of the Alzheimer’s Society’sDementia Friends” scheme. Dementia Friends is Alzheimer’s Society’s groundbreaking new initiative which will give more people an understanding of dementia and the small things that could make a difference to people living in their community. From today anyone in England can go online and register to become a Dementia Friend.

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Since my involvement with Alzheimer’s Society started, and throughout the time working with Dad to promote awareness and raise money, I’ve noticed something rather startling. Very few people have any significant knowledge about dementia or about how to deal with people with dementia. Bearing in mind 1 in 3 people over 65 and 1 in 2 people over 80 will die with dementia – it’s something that is going to affect us all eventually – whether we get the disease ourselves, or have a grandparent, parent, spouse or partner that is affected.

Combine this startling lack of knowledge with the stigma currently attached to dementia and we have a very naive population that are not ready for the massive increase in numbers of people suffering from the disease – there are already an estimated 800,000 in the UK, rising to around 1.7 million by 2050.

Over the last few months, I’ve had many friends, colleagues, acquaintances and even strangers contact me to ask for advice. Now, I’m not a doctor, or a dementia specialist… and I think this is the key point. I’m just someone with experience of living with and caring for someone with dementia, and how to cope with it. This suggests to me that people prefer talking to someone on a non-professional basis – and this can open the way to getting a diagnosis, help and treatment for the person they are worried about.

But there’s much more to Dementia Friends than this. Knowing how and when to help someone with dementia can be tough – but having dementia friends within the community will mean that there’s always someone around who can help… whether it’s helping someone find the right bus, or making sure local businesses are dementia-aware. Dementia Friends know how to act more sympathetically towards people with dementia in their communities and workplaces, and will undertake to turn that understanding into action to help people with dementia feel included in their communities.

I’m really looking forward to helping promote the initiative and to becoming a Dementia Friends champion myself in due course.

For more information see the Dementia Friends website.

Gerry Anderson

A thank you

Gerry Anderson

Gerry Anderson

I just wanted to write a quick note to thank everyone who has been kind enough to get in touch with us over the last 24 hours. We’ve received hundreds of e-mails, read through thousands of tweets, and receives many dozens of phone calls. Dad would have been utterly astonished by the response of the public and the media.

The most overwhelming thing has been the fact that so many people have been so touched by Dad’s work. Not just in terms of entertainment during their childhoods, but into adulthood – altering career paths and generating new interests, that might not have otherwise existed. This depth of influence has been incredibly striking for us, and as a family we truly appreciate the time you have all taken to contact us and share your thoughts, memories, and experiences.

We intend to keep Dad’s memory and legacy going as much as possible, and I will be writing about a number of upcoming projects in the near future.

In the meantime, if you would like to honour his memory then please continue to give donations to the Alzheimer’s Society via our memorial Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/RememberingGerryAnderson

Thank you again for your continuing support and kind messages – they really do mean a huge amount to us.

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Gerry Anderson has Died

Gerry and Jamie Anderson working with the Alzheimer's Society to launch Memory WalkI’m very sad to announce the death of my father, Thunderbirds creator, Gerry Anderson. He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today (26th December 2012), having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years. He was 83.

Please make donations in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Society via this just giving linkhttp://www.justgiving.com/RememberingGerryAnderson

Below is an obituary kindly written by his fan club: Fanderson

Gerry Anderson has died

26th December 2012

Gerry Anderson, known the world over as the film and television producer of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Space:1999 amongst many others, has died at the age of 83.

On hearing the news the chairman of Fanderson Nick Williams paid tribute to him:
“To those who met him Gerry was a quiet, unassuming but determined man. His desire to make the best films he could drove him and his talented teams to innovate, take risks, and do everything necessary to produce quite inspirational works. Gerry’s legacy is that he inspired so many people and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions of people around the world.”

Anderson’s unique style of filmmaking influenced the imaginations and careers of countless creatives that succeeded him, and his productions continue to be shown around the world to new generations of fans.

Gerry was diagnosed with mixed dementia two years ago and his condition worsened quite dramatically over the past six months. Having already decided with his family on a care home for himself earlier this year, he moved in there in October.

Until very recently Anderson remained interested and involved in the film industry, keen to re-visit some of his earlier successes using the latest technology available. His last producer credit came in 2005 on New Captain Scarlet, a CGI-animated re-imagining of his 1967 Supermarionation series, which premiered on ITV in the UK. Most recently he worked as a consultant on a Hollywood remake of his 1969 series UFO, directed by Matthew Gratzner.

He also worked as a celebrity ambassador for The Alzheimer’s Society, helping to raise awareness of the disease and much-needed funds for the society.

Gerry leaves three children from former marriages, Joy, Linda and Gerry Junior, his son Jamie and widow Mary.

Fanderson will pay a full tribute to Gerry Anderson in FAB 74, due in March 2013.

Donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Society in his memory.

Added at 7.14pm 26/12/12 – I just wanted to thank everyone for their incredibly kind messages of support, and for sharing their happy childhood memories – inspired by Dad’s work. I know Dad would have been blown away by the support, positivity, and kind words. I think the saddest thing would have been if he had passed without being noticed, but the response has been the total opposite. Thank you.

UPDATE: 27/03/2013 – A new website has been launched to celebrate Gerry Anderson’s legacy, and keep fans informed about new Gerry Anderson projects. Please visit the Gerry Anderson website.