Two Patrons of Alzheimer’s Research UK have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.
Malcolm Walker, founder and CEO of Iceland Foods, who led a fundraising drive both personally and through his stores that raised over £2m for Alzheimer’s Research UK, has received a knighthood. June Spencer, a long-time supporter of the charity, has been recognised with a CBE.
Honorary Research Fellow of the charity, Prof Simon Lovestone, also received a knighthood in recognition of his pioneering dementia research and Prof Carol Brayne receives a CBE.
Alzheimer’s Research UK was chosen as Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation’s lead charity in 2011, a partnership lasting over three years and raising over £3m for research into early-onset dementia. Malcolm Walker kicked-off fundraising in spectacular style with an expedition to Everest, followed by an attempt to trek to the South Pole. In 2013, he donated proceedings of his autobiography to the charity. Their efforts helped to power groundbreaking research across the UK, including the charity’s landmark Insight 46 study, as well as drawing attention to the condition among their customers.
Actress June Spencer has supported the charity since 2005, playing an invaluable role in bringing dementia into the public eye and raising awareness of the condition. Since losing her husband to vascular dementia, June lent her support to major fundraising campaigns for the charity that have raised thousands in funding for research. She is most famous for being the longest serving cast member on The Archers, as character Peggy Woolley. This role saw her re-create real life on air when the storyline followed her on-air husband Jack’s decline with dementia – a portrayal for which she received great praise.
Tim Parry, Director of Communications at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“In recent years a welcome spotlight has fallen on dementia and the importance of research, and it’s fantastic to see the people behind these efforts celebrated. June Spencer has been a trail-blazer in raising awareness about dementia, recreating her experiences of caring for someone with dementia on one of the most public of platforms on The Archers. Her commitment to portraying the daily challenges of caring for someone with dementia galvanised public support for the condition at a time when it was only starting to come out of the shadows.
“Malcolm Walker’s personal commitment to raising funds and awareness for dementia and research has been outstanding, and helped to inspire thousands of staff and customers to get behind this important cause. Alzheimer’s Research UK is committed to defeating dementia through research and it is individuals like these, and their dedication both behind the scenes and in the public eye, that will take us there sooner.”