THE widow of a former Wearside MP addressed a special meeting at the Labour Party Conference.
Pat Boyes, widow of former Houghton and Washington MP Roland Boyes, was speaking at a meeting on life sciences discussing care for Alzheimer’s Disease sufferers.
Roland Boyes was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 1995, aged only 58, and died five years ago.
Mrs Boyes, a champion for Alzheimer’s Research UK, opened the discussion on “Delivering innovation to the patient” at the Liverpool conference by talking about her husband’s illness and how they campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and money for dementia research.
Pat, who lives in Peterlee, said: “Roland used to be such a great man, he could have taken on the world. It was so sad to see him decline through Alzheimer’s
“I said to him: ‘You always say there is a solution to every problem. Come on, what’s the solution to this?’ He looked at me and said ‘research’.
“I told him he was too ill to campaign, but he replied ‘We’ve got to do something before I can’t write any more’, and set about writing letters to everyone he knew to raise money.
“When he couldn’t write any more, I took over.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK chief executive Rebecca Wood said: ”Stories like those of Roland and Pat Boyes remind us how urgently we need to invest in research so that we can develop treatments for dementia
“It also reminds us of the vital role charities like Alzheimer’s Research UK and those with personal experience of dementia are playing to help deliver innovation to the patient.
“Research into dementia is progressing every day and the UK is very well placed to deliver effective results.
“This will require input from many parties, including researchers, charities, government, industry, the health service and patients, so it is important to start having these conversations now.”