Soap star calls for more action on dementia

16 May 2017 08:18

A soap star has called for more dementia awareness

A soap star has called for more dementia awareness

A star of the soap world has called for more attention to be paid to common health problems like Alzheimer's disease.

John Middleton, who appeared in the popular long-running series Emmerdale, said the UK's political parties are not focusing enough on these conditions.

His fictional character in the soap, Ashley Thomas, recently passed away following a battle with dementia.

And during the TV Bafta awards ceremony in London over the weekend, the star said strangers still thank him for the way he portrayed the illness.

Political plea

Speaking as part of the ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, Middleton said: "It's extraordinary how not a day goes by that I don't get stopped in the street by somebody saying 'thank you very much for doing this story', because it has affected them because of a relative who has had the disease."

He also highlighted some key statistics about the condition, adding: " The Alzheimer's Society, who have been immensely helpful, told us currently there are 850,000 people diagnosed with this disease in the UK alone, and that figure is likely to rise to about two million. It is the biggest health problem that we have in the western world and I don't think we are addressing it enough."

He said that if the show has helped to raise awareness of dementia, then he is proud of the work it has done.

Middleton said that previous Prime Minister David Cameron committed £300 million to research for dementia, but the current crop of politicians appear to have lost sight of this.

During the awards ceremony, Emmerdale picked up the gong for best soap.

Dementia support

Dementia can impact people's lives in many ways, but it shouldn't prevent them from going on holiday.

Specialist Alzheimer's travel insurance is available to support those with the condition who are heading on foreign trips.

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