Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips recognised in honours list for helping raise awareness of dementia
Date of article: 02-Jan-13
Article By: Sue Learner, News Editor
Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips was awarded a CBE and Dr Ann Johnson, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list.
Arlene Phillips, who has been a judge on TV shows, Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance?, has regularly talked about her experiences of caring for her father who had Alzheimer’s. She has also fronted the Alzheimer's Society’s Dementia Awareness Week and spoken out to improve the quality of care.
Ms Phillips said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this honour. Now we must look to 2013 and see how we can build on the incredible progress that we have seen over the past 12 months.”
She added: “I know first-hand how difficult life can be for people with dementia and their carers. My dad was lucky and received excellent care from some amazing care staff but this is not the case for everyone. It is so important that we do all we can to change this picture.”
Former nurse Ann Johnson from Altrincham, Greater Manchester was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 52. She has contributed to many events including chairing sessions at the Dementia Congress 2011 and is taking part in the Alzheimer’s Disease International conference in London 2012. Dr Johnson also sits on the Prime Minister’s Champion Group for Dementia Friendly Communities and in July this year was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bolton for her outstanding contribution to healthcare.
Dr Johnson, called it “the cherry on the top of an incredible year in which I have had the opportunity to work with the Prime Minister, speak at some major events and also received my doctorate” and said: “It is so exciting to be given this recognition. This year we have seen so much progress for people with dementia. I feel very lucky to be able to be part of all the work that is going on and am really glad that I am helping to make a difference.”
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer's Society, said he is “absolutely delighted that both Arlene and Ann have been honoured for their incredible work in helping raise awareness and break the stigma of dementia” and added: “Without people like them, Alzheimer’s Society would not have been able to achieve everything it has over the past few years.”
“Speaking out about your own personal experiences can be incredibly daunting. But I know from hearing Ann and Arlene speak how inspirational these accounts can be. I very much look forward to working with them both in the future and have great confidence that together we can continue to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia and carers.”
Alzheimer’s Society research shows 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This is set to soar to 1.7m people by 2051.
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