Actor Suranne Jones - star of the TV series Gentleman Jack and Dr Foster - has teamed up with a Horsham man in a bid to beat dementia.
Suranne, a long time supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society, joined 59-year-old Paul Hoskins who has Pick’s disease - a rare form of dementia - to share stories of their individual experiences.
Suranne’s mother died two and a half years ago after being diagnosed with vascular dementia.
Suranne and Paul have created a video in which they chat and bake a batch of cupcakes, inspired by one of Paul’s favourite childhood memories, to mark the Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day on June 13.
Paul reveals how his love of the cake led to him having it served at his wedding, and then again decades later at renewal of his voews to his wife Penny.
Paul said that he wanted “to tell everybody out there that life doesn’t end when dementia begins and I can still do the things I enjoy with additional support.
“The support from Alzheimer’s Society has allowed me to do just that - and to get involved in exciting projects like this one, with Suranne Jones!
“I loved being able to talk about my memories and pay tribute to my wife Penny, my grandmother, who made the original cake, and my son, Darren.
“For our wedding vow renewals, our carrot and pineapple cupcakes were decorated with red stars in memory of our son, Darren, who passed away 11 years ago. I felt this video was an important moment to commemorate his legacy, too.”
Suranne said: “I was really grateful to Paul for opening up about his dementia and baking together really allowed us to talk and reflect on the condition that has affected both of our lives.
“My mum was diagnosed at quite a young age, in her late fifties, and her dementia accelerated quite fast. I was keen to hear about Paul’s own experiences of the disease.
“Hearing how Paul is going through some of the same things that my mum faced was really touching. He explained how day to day activities like getting dressed have become challenging for him.”
She added: “Sometimes when you talk about dementia, people imagine it’s a term that only refers to old people. It’s important to highlight the experiences of people like Paul, who is only in his fifties and really sprightly.
“As my mum was a similar age when she was diagnosed, it was enlightening to meet someone who was going through a similar experience to hers, with such optimism and strength.
“In the time it takes to bake a batch of cupcakes, six people will develop dementia in the UK, so taking part in Cupcake Day is a fantastic way to raise vital funds to provide support for the many thousands of people currently living with dementia and for research into cause, cure and prevention.”
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: “We know that for people living with dementia, talking about the past can bring up happy memories, so it was great to see Paul and Suranne enjoy baking together whilst talking about his memories and their shared experiences of dementia.
“Dementia isn’t going away - two fifths of us know someone with dementia and one million people will be living with it by 2021. By taking part in Cupcake Day you will be helping Alzheimer’s Society find a cure for the future and help people live better today.”
Now in its fourth year, Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day has raised £2.7 million and this year is aiming to raise £1.8 million.