H’Angus the Monkey has now become the first mascot in the country to become a Dementia Friends Champion after attending an induction event organised by the Alzheimer’s Society.

The monkey mascot, played by Pools fan Michael Evans, was provided with training which allows him to give out information about the personal impact of dementia and encourage others to make a positive different in their community.

Michael was among a small group of Pools staff who became Dementia Friends during an information session delivered at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium at the end of last year.

This inspired him to take the next step and enrol for extra training which now qualifies him to deliverhis own Dementia Friends sessions in the future – something he feels extremely passionate about.

“It does feel close to home for me because my nana suffered from dementia,” he explained to us.

“You can’t really use your personal experiences in the classes but I saw how she was affected by it and how others who lived with dementia during the time she was in the nursing home were too.

“It’s easier for me to understand now and I wish I knew then what I know now because I could have been a bigger help to my nana and the rest of my family.

“I want to share that knowledge with my family, friends and fans even, it’s really important to get the message out there and educate as many people as possible.”

Michael, who took time off from his job with Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe to attend the training, has been humbled by the many messages of support he has received.

Now he’s looking forward to helping the Alzheimer’s Society meet the challenge of collecting four million Dementia Friends as part of his new role as one of nearly 11,000 Dementia Friends Champions nationwide.

“I got so much positive feedback on social media when I posted about what I had done.

“To have that recognition as the very first English Football League mascot to become a Dementia Friends Champion is amazing.

“The target for the charity is to reach four million Dementia Friends in the coming years and if I can play even a small part in moving towards that then I will be happy.”