Former Prime Minister David Cameron has taken on the role of President of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s dementia research charity. This is the highest level of ambassador to the charity.
As Prime Minister, Mr Cameron supported efforts to improve care, research and public understanding of the disease and its effects. He launched the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge in 2012, describing dementia at the time as “one of the biggest challenges we face today – and it is one that we as a society simply cannot afford to ignore any longer.”
In 2013, he used the UK’s presidency of the G8 to highlight the condition and encourage an international initiative to find a disease modifying treatment by 2025. A year later at a G7 legacy event in London he launched Alzheimer’s Research UK’s five-year £100m Defeat Dementia fundraising campaign.
He succeeds Lady Onslow who, as President, has supported Alzheimer’s Research UK for many years.
New President – dementia “not inevitable”
His first act as President was to visit the charity’s offices in Cambridge, and tour one of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s three Drug Discovery Institutes. Here he heard from scientists who are working to fast-track promising research breakthroughs into new treatments for people with dementia.
Marking its 25th anniversary this year, Alzheimer’s Research UK has a current £33m portfolio of projects underway at leading universities in the UK and around the world. Its programmes include a world-first network of dementia Drug Discovery Institutes, innovative international partnerships between academia and industry, and award-winning public awareness campaigns, most recently Santa Forgot.
Last November the charity used a memorable advert ‘Santa Forgot’ in a striking alternative to other charities’ Christmas appeal adverts. Narrated by Stephen Fry, the advert imagines a world where Santa is living with the effects of dementia and no longer visits children on Christmas Eve. “But we believe in the power of research to change the future. Do you?” It was so powerful that it had to be shown on TV later in the evenings to avoid upsetting children.
Speaking about his appointment as President of Alzheimer’s Research UK, David Cameron, PC urged the public not to think that the “life-shattering condition” of dementia was inevitable. He said:
“Tackling dementia was a major focus while I was Prime Minister, and although improvements in attention and research innovation have been rapid, it remains one of our greatest health challenges.
“So I’m delighted to take up the Presidency of Alzheimer’s Research UK, an ambitious charity driving medical research to fight this devastating condition. As well as being a world-leading research organisation, the charity is also fighting the misconceptions of dementia that persist in society. Dementia is not inevitable and research is our greatest weapon against it.”
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, welcomed the announcement of the former PM’s new role, saying:
“David Cameron joins Alzheimer’s Research UK as our President to continue a mission he instigated through the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge: to go further and faster in our research to combat the condition. As a world leader, Mr Cameron has done more than any other to put dementia on the global agenda, driving an ambition shared by all G7 nations to find a disease-modifying treatment by 2025… [His] support of our work will help us continue our positive growth and further bolster our research efforts, through which we will end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) January 25, 2017
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