LOCAL comedians have shown support for dementia by visiting a local hospital as part of Dementia Awareness Week.
Bobby Ball visited Clifton Hospital last Tuesday, May 17, to meet patients, watch a dance display and sign up to be a Dementia Friend.
Bobby was very disappointed to be unable to open Clifton’s Carers’ Day on Thursday May 19 due to a change in filming commitments for Sky 1’s Mount Pleasant. Instead, he prearranged a visit to the hospital to show his support.
He also arranged for Mick Miller to be his replacement to open the event instead.
Bobby was filmed at the event and to watch the video see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg2XewLMoeI
Bobby said: “I’ve had a wonderful time and met some wonderful people. My mother had Alzheimer’s so I know exactly what they are going through.
“People need to be more aware of what to do when this happens in their family. I want to be involved in this cause big time.”
Bobby chatted at length with lots of patients on the wards, who were delighted to see him. After joining patients for vintage tea and cake and watching a small dance display, Bobby, his wife Yvonne and Councillor Brenda Blackshaw, signed up to be Dementia Friends.
Last Thursday, May 19, Clifton hosted their annual Carers’ Day Event and Mick opened the event and helped judge ward displays.
He said memories of his friend and football legend, Stan Mortensen, inspired him to support a dementia awareness event.
Mick, who lives in Poulton and regularly travels across the world to put on comedy shows, played football for the same team as Stan.
He said Stan was most famous for the part he played in the 1953 FA Cup Final when Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3. The match became known as the ‘Matthews Final’ despite the fact that Mortensen was the only player ever to score a hat-trick in the Cup Final.
At the opening of Clifton Hospital’s Dementia Carers’ Day on Thursday, May 19, Mick said he was devastated when he heard that Stan had Alzheimer’s Disease in his later years. Stan, who was also a Blackpool FC manager and was one of just a handful of players to be inducted into the club’s ‘Hall of Fame’, sadly died in 1991.
Mick said: “Stan was a legend. I used to be a professional footballer and played for Port Vale. We were both at some stage signed by the great Stanley Matthews.
“Stan had dementia before a lot of people really understood what it was. I’ve known a lot of footballers and celebrities who have had dementia.”
Mick, who recently appeared on BBC1 in an episode of ‘Car Share’ with his friend Peter Kay, said he was supporting the ‘Peace of Mind Appeal’ to enhance care for dementia patients. The appeal is being run by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s charity – the Blue Skies Hospitals Fund.
Mick said: “It’s a great cause and it’s fantastic that Clifton Hospital has events like this.
“It’s nice that people come and give their time. There are lots of volunteers and there is a great team here. I’ve been here a few times to visit friends.”
Staff put a huge amount of their own time and efforts into the dementia awareness event. Ward manager Linda Broadbent said: “ The staff have worked so hard this week – coming in early and staying late. It’s been great to see so many people being involved as ultimately, this week has all been about raising awareness of dementia and letting the public know that there are so many great organisations out in the community that are there to help anyone living with dementia.”
Many different charities, organisations and businesses had stalls at the event. Blackpool and the Fylde College sent along hairdressers to create vintage styles and Soundwaves choir and 1940s singer Beverley Alexander performed for the visitors.
Mick, 66, now spends up to six months of the year touring with his comedy shows and does a mixture of traditional and ‘alternative’ comedy gigs.
He said he and his good friend Bobby Ball are hoping to put together a show to raise funds for the Peace of Mind Appeal.
He added: “We would love to put on a show for this marvellous appeal.”
Associate Director of Nursing at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Simone Anderton said: “I’m so glad that Bobby and Mick were able to come along.
“It’s nice to see that local stars are involved in the wider cause and raising awareness for dementia.”