UK’s chief Admiral Nurse: ‘We tell fundraisers to look at the work done in Sid Valley’

The Admiral Nurse campaign launches at St Francis Hall. Ref shs 6123-20-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The Admiral Nurse campaign launches at St Francis Hall. Ref shs 6123-20-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Dementia UK’s chief executive has praised the work of campaigners and residents in the Sid Valley for their initiative and drive to bring an Admiral Nurse to the area.

Head of the charity and chief Admiral Nurse Hilda Hayo spent a career spanning more than 30 years helping people living with dementia and their loved-ones.

Her team has been working in partnership with trustees at the Sid Valley Memory Café to bring a dementia specialist to the area, which has the second-highest elderly population in the country.

The memory café launched a £100,000 campaign in May, in partnership with the Sidmouth Herald, to secure two years’ worth of funding.

The Sid Valley’s Admiral Nurse would be the first in Devon.

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The Herald reported last week that the campaign has now reached the halfway mark.

Mrs Hayo said: “It is absolutely fantastic what the memory café has done.

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“We get people who want to fundraise and it takes them a while to get to £10,000.

“We point them to look at the work of the memory café. They are organised and get groups of people together and they raise the money.”

Dementia UK celebrated 25 years of Admiral Nursing this year.

It was set up in 1990 by the family of Joseph Levy CBE BEM.

The British Empire Medal recipient, affectionately known as ‘Admiral Joe’ because of his love of sailing, was diagnosed with vascular dementia. His family saw there was a need for a service to support loved-ones and provided funding for staff training.

Over the last 25 years, the number of Admiral Nurses across the UK has grown from one to 145.

This number is set to rise to 200 by the end of 2016.

Most of the country’s Admiral Nurses are based around London, with the specialists spread sporadically as far as Glasgow and Cornwall.

Mrs Hayo said: “When I came into the profession, I came in to make a difference. It is my dream job. Part of my career involved helping families living with dementia. For every Admiral Nurse, it helps between 40 and 80 families.”

“The biggest difference I have seen is that people are talking about dementia now because we have an understanding. Living with dementia can be an incredibly hard and lonely experience for both the person with dementia and their family.

“We want more families to know that they aren’t alone and that we’re here to help them. We believe passionately that everyone who needs the support of an Admiral Nurse should have one.”

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