I think it was in the spring of 1975. I do remember it was the same day as a serious accident on the London underground but for me, tragic though that obviously was, the most memorable thing about the day for me was winning a poetry reading competition at my junior school. Not for me a sporting triumph, for leading the school team to victory against all the odds. I hadn’t scored the winning goal with seconds remaining (though I’d dreamt of it then and many times since). No, my trophy was for reading aloud a poem called “Grim and Gloomy”. Naturally, I was heavily coached by Mum and had I been aware of such conventions at the age of 10, I would have dedicated my triumph to her.
So, why am I telling you this? Well, in April 2014, a few weeks over 40 years later, I shall be a winner again. And this time I will definitely dedicate the small part I have played in this triumph to Mum. The campaign group of which I’m a member in Warwickshire has won the Outstanding contribution prize at the Alzheimer’s Society People’s Awards. Regular readers might remember we ran an early diagnosis campaign last year, raising awareness of how an early medical intervention can significantly help people living with dementia. The team is small – there are four volunteers and a handful of dedicated members of society staff – but we’re pretty determined. I’m proud to be part of such a team and I’m thrilled the work has been recognised.
To be honest, I wasn’t even aware we’d be entered for these awards and while I do know there was a lot of competition for the top prize, I don’t know any other details. I do know that I, and others who’ve been members of this group than me and who dedicate more time to it, will be going to St James’ Palace on April 23rd.
I told Mum about the award when I saw her this week. Of course it didn’t seem to make an impression on her but as I became involved in campaigning for the Alzheimer’s Society because of Mum, then it is all about her.