HAMPSHIRE TV stars Fiona Phillips and Amanda Holden are among a raft of celebrities backing a national dementia campaign.
Former GMTV presenter Fiona, who grew up in Millbrook, joins former Bishop’s Waltham schoolgirl and Britain’s Got Talent star Amanda in calling for better awareness into the debilitating illness and Alzheimer’s.
Now their efforts have been backed by Hampshire County Council which has thrown its weight behind the bid to put a spotlight on the conditions.
It’s thought that one in three people is affected by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, which research suggests frightens elderly people more than the prospect of being diagnosed with cancer.
Fiona and Amanda appear alongside fellow celebrities Paul McCartney, Lily Allen and Coldplay’s Chris Martin in the Alzheimer’s Society and Public Health England’s Dementia Friends campaign, in which they perform a cover of the Beatles’ classic With A Little Help From My Friends.
The disease is close to the heart of Fiona, 53, who watched both of her parents suffer from the condition.
Her father Neville Phillips passed away in 2012, aged 76, after a five-year battle, while it had previously claimed the life of mum Amy in 2006.
Fiona, who attended Millbrook Community School, has been a long-term campaigner for better understanding of and research into Alzheimer’s.
The county council’s backing comes as it pushed to create dementia-friendly communities across the county through the Dementia Friendly Hampshire programme. The initiative was launched last year and 150 businesses and services in the county have already committed their support.
Four dementia-friendly high streets – Fareham, Romsey, Lyndhurst and Fleet – are up and running, 90 consultation and 130 awareness events have been held, and 11 dementia ambassadors appointed so far.
Cllr Liz Fairhurst, the council’s executive member for adult social care and public health, said: “I am very proud that Hampshire has been at the forefront of the dementia friendly communities work nationally.
“Over the past year Dementia Friendly Hampshire has been working to create communities where people with dementia can live well and feel able to make a valued contribution.
“I would really like to encourage Hampshire residents and businesses to get involved as the more people who join us, the greater the difference we can collectively make to improving the quality of life for people with dementia, their families and carers.”