North East Connected

Emmerdale’s Ashley Unveils Dementia Tree of Memories

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 17.19.59EMMERDALE star John Middleton took a break from filming to lend his support to a North East dementia charity.

John, whose TV character Ashley Thomas is living with vascular dementia, visited

Dementia Care’s specialist dementia care centre, at Brunswick Village, Newcastle, to unveil its Tree of Memories.

Viewers of the ITV soap have watched Ashley come to terms with his young onset vascular dementia and actor, John, said:

“I have been really impressed with the work of Dementia Care. Living with Dementia is an issue that is very close to my heart particularly with the current storyline in Emmerdale.

“I think the Tree of Memories is a wonderful way to celebrate people’s lives and help the amazing work of Dementia Care.”

While visiting, John looked around the residential respite centre, as well as speaking with families in the charity’s Independent Support Living bungalows.

Award-winning Dementia Care offers a range of services to those with dementia, including 24-hour support in their own homes, independent supported living, day centres and respite care and has been hailed by the Government as an example of good practice.

Now, the charity, which provides specialist care for more than 200 people with dementia each week, is hoping that the Tree of Memories will inspire those whose lives have been touched by dementia, or want to show their support by making a donation.

Bronze, silver and gold leaves engraved with the donor’s chosen name can be engraved depending on the donation. Leaves have already been engraved in memory of a number of people, including Tony Griffiths, a resident of one of Dementia Care’s Independent Supported Living bungalows and Jack Slade and Shirley Snowball, both of whom attended the Newcastle day centre and respite centre.

Dementia Care’s Chief Executive, Dave Stevens, said: “More and more people now come into contact with dementia and we regularly receive donations from across the UK and overseas in memory of people with dementia who have passed away.

“The Tree of Memories will allow families to create a lasting tribute to their loved one while supporting our vital work of caring for people living with dementia.”

Half the cost of the project was met through a grant from the Banks Group, via the community fund linked to its nearby Brenkley Lane surface mine. Other funding came from Newcastle City Council Castle Ward Community Fund, The Rothley Trust, The Storer family, Mary Whitby and Select Telecom.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, said: “This wonderful project will allow families across the region to create a long-lasting tribute to their loved ones, while also raising money for an invaluable North East charity and we are proud to have been part of its creation.”

For further information about Dementia Care and the services it provides or to make a donation, call 0191 217 1323 or

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