Families of dementia sufferers raise £1,000 for charity

Ryhope Derwenthurst Club donate funds to the Alzheimers Society From left Alzheimers Society fundraiser Lucy King, Margaret Hodgson, Maureen Hodgson, Karin Ipinson and Julie Mclean
Ryhope Derwenthurst Club donate funds to the Alzheimers Society From left Alzheimers Society fundraiser Lucy King, Margaret Hodgson, Maureen Hodgson, Karin Ipinson and Julie Mclean

Two friends whose mums are battling dementia have united in a bid to raise awareness about a lifeline charity.

The pair handed over a cheque for £1,000 to the Alzheimer’s Society following a fundraising evening.

Margaret Hodgson, 47, and Julie McLean, 46, both of Ryhope, organised the special event at the village’s Derwenthurst Club.

Julie, the club stewardess, said: “It was a fantastic night with entertainment, bingo and a prize raffle – the place was packed.

“I’d say most of the people who came had a connection to dementia – it’s so widespread – and that’s why I think the event was such a success.”

Among the raffle prizes was a pair of cricket shoes donated by Julie’s nephew, Scott Borthwick, the former all-rounder for Durham who now plays for Surrey.

Julie’s mother, Sarah Arkley, 86, has Lewy Body Dementia while Mary’s mother, Maureen Hodgson, 77, has Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of the illness.

Margaret, who works for supermarket chain Lidl, said: “My mother was diagnosed with the condition four years ago but I suspect she’s had it longer than that.

“It began with simple things like forgetting names and faces and not knowing where she was, but in the past six months her condition has deteriorated more rapidly.

“Two weeks ago she collapsed and now she has developed epilepsy as well.

“She still lives with my dad, William, but he has heart problems so I’m the main carer for both of them.

“It can get very difficult and stressful at times.”

Maureen was present when the pair, along with bar worker Karin Ibinson, 55, presented the cheque to Alzheimer’s Society community fundraiser Lucy King.

Maureen said: “I try to stay busy and I can still knit hats and scarves, but I rely on Margaret a lot – she does everything for me.”

Julie added: “My mam was only diagnosed in February and since then she has gone downhill quite quickly.

“It’s hard to accept what’s happening but at least Margaret and I have been able to support one another.”

Lucy said: “We rely heavily on people organising events, and donations like this really do make a difference.

“An estimated 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, 35,000 of them in the North East and, sadly, there is no cure on the horizon.

“It’s thanks to the generosity of members of the public that we’re able to maintain our level of services for people with dementia as well as supporting initiatives such as creating dementia-friendly communities and, of course, funding research.”