After a year in the limelight as Miss Newcastle, stunning Rebecca Gormley is aiming to capitalise on her success by raising awareness of a disease close to her heart.
The 21-year-old Wallsend beauty has become an Alzheimer’s Society volunteer to pay tribute to her beloved grandfather Les Crichton, who is living with dementia.
And she recently got up to speed with the role…at motor racing venue Croft Circuit.
Rebecca joined a team of fundraisers from the charity on Saturday for the first day of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at the venue, in Dalton-on-Tees, Darlington.
She said: “I’m delighted to have become a volunteer as dementia is a condition I have personal experience of.
“My granddad Les began his journey with dementia three-and-a-half years ago and it has been very difficult for the family.
“It’s hard for us to see the way he is now compared to how he used to be. Dementia has taken over him and he’s just not the same person.
“Most of the time when I visit him he doesn’t recognise me and I have to remind him that I’m his granddaughter.
“But it’s even worse for my gran Phyllis, who is also his carer. There are times when he calls her ‘mam’ and she has to explain that she’s his wife.
“It’s so sad to witness because I have such lovely memories of him when I was younger. He was always singing and would make silly duck noises just to make me laugh.”
Rebecca will represent Alzheimer’s Society at numerous events and has already agreed to collect a cheque on the charity’s behalf from a school in Killingworth.
There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, 35,000 of them in the North East.
The condition is the UK’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes.
Dan Nelson, Community Fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s fantastic to have Rebecca on board. I’ve no doubt she will be excellent ambassador for the charity.
“We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help us make the most of our fundraising activities.”
For more information about volunteering roles at Alzheimer’s Society, visit https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering