Veteran suffering Alzheimers awarded medal

23 January 2018

Veteran suffering Alzheimers awarded medal

Veteran Ian Harrison presented with his newly mounted medals by Durham chairman Mike Donne, watched by proud wife and Grandson, as well as all members of Stockton Livewell Veterans Alzheimers Hub. 

On Friday 12th January 2018 Mike Dunne, chairman of Durham branch, was invited to visit the Stockton Livewell Veterans Alzheimers Hub by Ian Mackie, who founded the Veterans section. He was asked to attend to present one of their members, Ian Harrison, with his newly mounted Malaya General Service Medal and the Malay Government Pingat Pasa Malaysia Medal.

Ian had served in Malaya with the RAMC from 1954 - 1956 as a National Serviceman. On receipt of his Medal he had put it in a drawer, in its original box unopened where it stayed until he joined the Veterans Alzheimers Hub in Stockton. Now, surrounded by fellow ex-Service people he was encouraged to get his medal mounted so he could wear it when they were attending parades and presentations. Ian Mackie, also a member of the Durham Branch, contacted Mike to see if he could get the medal mounted and enquire about the Pasa Malaysia Medal. The branch were more than happy to help and get the medal mounted.

The hub itself is full of fascinating ex-servicemen, ranging from a Second World War RAF Navigator to veterans of a number of different conflicts, all of whom suffer from Alzheimers. Ian Harrison was in his serving years an engineer who helped build HMS Invincible and HMS Sheffield that was lost in the Falklands as well as a number of submarines in his time at Barrow in Furness. In recent years he has suffered from three strokes and been diagnosed with vascular dementia.

Early in 2017 he lost the ability to speak but since joining the veterans Hub he has recovered his speech and is back to being a bit of a chatterbox. His wife Joan has nothing but praise for the veterans Hub as it has, in her words, given her back her husband. The presentation was made very special by Ian’s Grandson making a surprise visit; he is a serving member of the Yorkshire Regiment and was due to return to Afghanistan the following day.

This is the first time Mike, the Durham branch chairman has visited the Alzheimers Veterans Hub and came away from a most enjoyable morning having listened to their stories and realising just how important it is for such groups to exist. The opportunity for veterans suffering from this dreadful illness to meet up and ‘swing the lamp’ is priceless. He was accompanied by his wife Ruth, a Divisional Treasurer and proud Scot and bagpiper who, before we left, had promised to organise a ‘Burns’ luncheon for their March meeting.