This week I attended a Join Dementia Research event at Holland House Surgery in Lytham to discuss efforts to find better treatments for the disease.

Regular readers of this column will know that dementia care is extremely close to my heart, but research to find new medication and a possible cure is just as important.

Unfortunately, for far too long dementia has been dismissed as a natural part of the ageing process, when the truth is it is one of our biggest health challenges.

While I was at the event I had the opportunity to speak to Lancashire Care Trust researcher Dan Pulford and Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Mark Worthington from Lytham’s Greenlands Memory Clinic about the important work they do.

In his Dementia Challenge launched in 2012, the Prime Minister set out the ways in which we intend to fight this terrible disease, and research is key to that battle. More than £300m has already been committed for UK research and a separate global fund set up to drive international innovation.

However, it is people who will be key to beating this disease and I was delighted to see the number of people visiting the stand to find out more about efforts to find a cure.

I would encourage everyone to join me in signing up for the Join Dementia Research programme to help save countless lives and end the suffering of millions.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of welcoming BAE Systems’ trainee Joanne Sharples to Parliament, fresh from receiving a national apprenticeship award and meeting the Prime Minister.

Joanne, 24, from St Annes, beat strong competition from across various engineering industries to be named the UK’s Rolls-Royce Higher Apprentice of the Year at the Semta Skills Awards gala dinner at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, London.

She is a perfect example of what can be achieved through apprenticeships and has had the opportunity to visit some amazing places thanks to her work as a trainee engineer.

It was a pleasure to have the chance to discuss her achievements with her and give her a tour of the Palace of Westminster to round off her visit to the capital to receive her award.


PICTURE: Mark Menzies MP signing up to Join Dementia Research

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