Hitchin’s Charlie, 11, wins national award for his inspiring dementia care

Ambassador of the Alzheimer's Society Angela Rippon presented the award to Charlie Phillips. Picture

Ambassador of the Alzheimer's Society Angela Rippon presented the award to Charlie Phillips. Picture here with award presenters Charlie Webster and Julia Hardy and the charity's chief executive Jeremy Hughes. Picture courtesy of the Alzheimer's Society. - Credit: Archant

An 11-year-old boy has won a national award for the direct action he has taken to support people living with dementia, including his grandmother.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxgDW-xyLw4

Charlie Phillips, who lives in Hitchin, has been recognised by the Alzheimer’s Society in this year’s Dementia Friendly Awards, winning the Uniting Against Dementia - Outstanding Contribution category.

Charlie said: “I was so surprised I wasn’t sure I’d heard it right at first. It’s nice to be recognised for what I’ve done.”

His grandmother Judy was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Since then Charlie has seen how the condition has slowly taken her memories and made everyday tasks challenging.

Despite this, Charlie regularly visits her, trying to understand her needs and occupying her mind by playing his guitar or solving simple puzzles.

He decided to fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Society, starting with a sponsored 5km run at his school - Whitehill Junior - and a bake sale on his street, raising £300.

He has also raised awareness of dementia by giving talks at school, and has played his guitar for residents at a care home which provides dementia care.

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Charlie said: “Nan’s dementia has inspired me to help other people in similar situations. I’ve got lots more ideas, including a music festival at school to raise money. I’m going to be busy.”

Charlie’s mum, Sally, said: “I feel so incredibly proud of Charlie because he’s wanted to do this himself.

“It’s not something I’ve pushed him towards, but raising money and awareness will help people.

“I don’t think many children his age would be so spurred on by a negative to do something so positive. Rather than being downhearted about the condition, he’s thinking ‘what can we do?’”

The Alzheimer’s Society’s area manager for Hertfordshire, Claire Stockwell-Lance, said: “I’m delighted Charlie has won. It is a testament to his tremendous dementia-friendly work.

“This award recognises action taken to increase the connection with diverse communities, making sure everyone affected by dementia gets the support needed.

“Dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer, yet too many are facing dementia alone.

“Charlie’s intergenerational work is inspiring and shows no action is too big or too small to help towards creating dementia-friendly communities.”

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