A variety of famous faces have thrown their weight behind a campaign to change public attitudes to dementia.
Public Health England and the Alzheimer’s Society are working together on the Dementia Friends initiative.
It is hoped this will make people more aware of the difficulties faced by those with the condition and educate them about what steps they can take to enhance the lives of sufferers.
A TV commercial featuring a number of different celebrities is at the heart of the publicity drive, with stars including Chris Martin, Simon Pegg, Fiona Phillips and Leighton Baines singing a version of The Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends.
Other personalities appearing in the ad include Meera Syal, Michael Vaughan, Ray Winstone, Lily Allen and Sir Terry Pratchett.
Gina Shaw, a dementia patient who also features in the commercial, noted that people often assume that those with dementia are unable to do anything for themselves and are helpless.
However, she insisted this is not true and that her support network makes her feel much safer.
“It would be a dream if everyone could take some time out in their day to watch the short film and become a Dementia Friend to help others like me,” Ms Shaw commented.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt pointed out that dementia is not just a health condition, as it “attacks the fabric of our society and can take a huge toll on the families and friends of those affected by the disease”.
He called on everybody from families and communities to businesses to “come together to ensure that people with dementia can continue to live fulfilling and rewarding lives”.
The presence of such a wide variety of celebrities in the advert could be invaluable in helping the campaign to get through to the wider public.
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, the writer of the song covered in the commercial, has thrown his weight behind the initiative by signing up to be a Dementia Friends ambassador.
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Posted by Cheryl Jackson-Leafield.