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June Spencer, who raised the profile of dementia on the long-running radio show The Archers, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Ms Spencer, the longest serving member of The Archers, has done a great deal to highlight the issues of people with dementia and their carers with her heart-warming performance of Peggy Woolley, which echoed a period of her own personal life when she lost her husband to vascular dementia.
She has been a supporter of the charity since 2005, helping fundraising campaigns for the charity, raising thousands for research.
Tim Parry, director of communications at Alzheimer’s Research UK, called her “a trail-blazer in raising awareness about dementia, recreating her experiences of caring for someone with dementia on one of the most public of platforms on The Archers.”
“Her commitment to portraying the daily challenges of caring for someone with dementia galvanised public support for the condition at a time when it was only starting to come out of the shadows.”
Malcom Walker, the founder and chief executive of frozen food giants Iceland was also awarded a knighthood, for his fundraising both personally and through his stores that raised over £2m for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Mr Walker received his knighthood in recognition of his three-year partnership with Alzheimer’s Research - choosing the charity for the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation in 2011 - and for his continued commitment to dementia research.
He took part in an expedition to Everest, followed by an attempt to trek to the South Pole. In 2013, Mr Walker donated proceedings of his autobiography to the charity. Their efforts helped to power groundbreaking research across the UK, including the charity’s landmark Insight 46 study, as well as drawing attention to the condition among their customers.
Tim Parry said: “Malcolm Walker’s personal commitment to raising funds and awareness for dementia and research has been outstanding, and helped to inspire thousands of staff and customers to get behind this."
Honorary Research Fellow of Alzheimer’s Research UK, Professor Simon Lovestone also received a knighthood in recognition of his pioneering dementia research and Professor Carol Brayne received a CBE for her services to dementia research, especially in the area of dementia prevalence within the UK.
Mr Parry added: “In recent years a welcome spotlight has fallen on dementia and the importance of research, and it’s fantastic to see the people behind these efforts celebrated.”