BAFTA Award-winning actors Carey Mulligan and David Bradley joined carollers and a dementia choir at Alzheimer’s Society’s annual Carols at Christmas, at the historic Southwark Cathedral.
Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Carey Mulligan hosted this year’s yuletide event in memory of her grandmother ‘Nans’ who had dementia.
Carey was reunited with fellow actor Anne-Marie Duffs.
Attended by more than 400 guests, the festive celebration marks 40 years of Alzheimer’s Society’s work.
Funds raised will help support people affected by dementia in their communities and bring hope to millions through research.
Ms Carey said at the carol service: “I have had the privilege of being an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Society for a number of years now. And I know just how enormously dedicated the charity is to helping thousands of people with dementia every year.
“People living with dementia and their families often feel alone and don’t have enough support. I’m proud to see the developments in research, but while we power progress for a cure, everyone affected by dementia must have somewhere to turn to for help and advice. Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Helpline is a lifeline to so many people, but it can only cope with increasing demand through donations, which is why I’m honoured to be a part of such a fabulous event.
“Dementia is heart-breaking, but it is possible to live well with dementia. Nans taught me that. This Christmas, if you have a loved one with dementia, spend time with them. Love them, the same way you always have. And please, if you can, give a Christmas gift to Alzheimer’s Society so we can make sure no one with dementia faces it alone.”
Also getting into the festive spirit was Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Scott Mitchell, Paul Ready and David Bradley, who plays someone with dementia in Ricky Gervais’ Netflix hit After Life.
Mr Bradley said: “When you’re playing a part, you know it’s not real life. I can only imagine how devastating dementia is – to learn you have it, to come to terms with it and deal with the impact on families and friends.
“What I do know is that we must do all we can to make sure everyone with dementia has somewhere to turn to after a dementia diagnosis, and fund research into the diseases causing dementia, because it’s something we just have to get rid of. And we can. Research will beat dementia if we invest in it now.”
The stars were joined by the Alzheimer’s Society’s Croydon ‘Singing for the Brain’ dementia choir, who sang old time holiday favourites including Frank Sinatra’s Have yourself a merry little Christmas and Bing Crosby’s Santa Claus is coming to town.
A classical choir, including singers from QBE and Aon from Insurance United Against Dementia, then led the crowds in singing traditional Christmas hymns. Money raised from the event has never been more important, as more people affected by dementia than ever are desperately seeking help and are relying on Alzheimer’s Society for vital support.
The number of crisis calls to Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Helpline have more than doubled in the last decade, with 45,000 calls for help being answered last year alone. The helpline provides confidential and expert advice for anyone affected – people who may have spotted symptoms, have just been diagnosed, or who may be struggling. Christmas is typically a time for food, family and festivities, but for people affected by dementia it can be more difficult.
Pressure to have a wonderful time can cause guilt and sadness for family and friends, and the breaking of routines can be confusing or distressing for people with dementia.
Jeremy Hughes from the Alzheimer’s Society said: “The support of everyone who attended Alzheimer’s Society’s annual Carols at Christmas is hugely appreciated as we continue on our mission to be there for every person affected by dementia.
“There are 850,000 people living with dementia and this number is set to rise to one million by 2025. People tell us just how much of a lifeline our support services are, with too many families affected by dementia feeling abandoned after diagnosis.
“We’re determined that nobody should face dementia alone, and especially at Christmas, which can be a challenging and isolating time. That’s why every donation counts and will make such a difference to people with dementia.”
As part of Alzheimer’s Society’s commitment to creating a dementia-friendly society, Carols at Christmas was a dementia-friendly event. There were additional stewards on hand to guide people to seats and volunteers were briefed to ensure they knew how best to help someone with dementia.
You can help Alzheimer’s Society continue supporting people affected by dementia at Christmas and all year-round at
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