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Torquay campaigner Norrms McNamara takes his dementia message right to the top

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 19, 2012

  • downing street date: Norrms McNamara and wife Elaine outside 10 Downing Street

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BAY dementia campaigner Norrms McNamara has dined with the PM David Cameron in the launch of the Dementia Friends initiative.

Mr Cameron told Norrms, from Dunboyne in Torquay, that 'all should follow Torbay's lead' in becoming dementia friendly.

He was speaking at the Downing Street launch of a new scheme designed to raise awareness of the illness with the help of businesses and charities.

It includes training a million people in England by 2015 to become 'dementia friends', able to spot signs of the illness and help sufferers.

At the launch, Norrms met with fellow dementia campaigner Fiona Phillips who he spoke with at the recent Pride of Britain awards.

Norrms said: "As we sat at tables and enjoyed lunch David Cameron (pictured left) came in and talked to every table and my lasting memory of my conversation with him was telling him of the Dementia Friends venture was something we have been doing in Torbay since January. He then said all should follow our lead. Great moment."

Norrms also spoke with new care minister Norman Lamb.

He said: "I explained to him all about our work in Torbay and how the documents we are giving to staff had already helped an elderly lady in the Wilkinson store here in Torquay. Mr Lamb was off to a care conference yesterday afternoon and asked if he could use that as an example in his speech, of course I said yes."

Mr Cameron heard first hand the leading role being played by Torbay in raising awareness and supporting people with dementia.

It came as the Prime Minister received a progress report on work being undertaken to improve the lives of those suffering from the disease.

Mr Cameron has said tackling dementia is a 'personal priority' and has already announced funding for research is to be more than doubled by 2015 in a bid to make Britain a world leader in the field.

Among those updating Mr Cameron at Downing Street was Ian Sherriff, a Devon-based trustee of the Alzheimer's Society.

He sits on a national panel tasked with leading the fight against the disease, through improved treatment, better support, and access to care.

The report by the group, co-chaired by Angela Rippon and Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, highlighted the work in Torbay to create the 'dementia-friendly' communities.

The task force's report also pointed to the creation of a support network for sufferers and their carers in five parishes around the River Yealm — Brixton, Yealmpton, Wembury, Newton and Noss, and Holbeton.

Mr Sherriff said: "What we are doing is planning now for the future."

There are estimated to be almost 2,700 people suffering dementia in Torbay.

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