Schoolboy entrepreneur raises £2,000 for dementia research in memory of grandfather

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By Philip Tubby | Thursday 01 February 2018

He may be only 13 years old, but that hasn’t stopped Ed Ditcham from setting up his own fundraising initiative and raising over £2,000 for dementia research in memory of his grandfather.

The schoolboy spent 2017 working hard with his fundraising initiative, Ed’s Helpful Hand, to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the country’s leading dementia research charity.

Ed Ditcham

Ed, who is from Finchdean, Hampshire, started the initiative because his grandfather passed away in 2014 with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

DLB is the third most common form of dementia, with an estimated 100,000 people in the UK living with the condition.

When Ed’s grandfather, William – who he affectionately called Grampy – passed away in 2014, Ed knew he had to do something to help others.

The goal of Ed’s Helpful Hand was originally to do odd jobs for people in his local community to raise money for the charity. This included car-washing, lawnmowing, and helping people with their computers.

However, by March of 2017, Ed was already thinking of bigger ideas, so he decided to run his own Mighty Quiz in April, raising a whopping £850.

The Mighty Quiz was launched by Alzheimer’s Research UK last year to help people raise funds for dementia research by doing something fun in their own communities. After a successful first year, it is being relaunched for 2018, with people urged to run quizzes and help beat dementia.

Those interested can find out how to run their own quiz at www.themightyquiz.org

As well as his Mighty Quiz, Ed also ran a musical event before Christmas to help raise funds. Ed’s Sing to Support boosted his fundraising total and got people in the local area in to enjoy carols, mince pies and mulled wine.

Ed’s entrepreneurial spirit is continuing into 2018 as he prepares to start fundraising for two hospices in memory of his grandmother through Ed’s Helpful Hand.

The pupil of Oaklands Catholic School in Waterlooville praised his loving grandfather and said that they have great memories together.

He said:

“I set up Ed’s Helpful Hand after Grampy passed away because it was really difficult seeing him slowly wither away. I found it very tough and I didn’t want any other family to have to go through what we went through.

“I was really proud of Grampy. He used to tell me all about missions he went on in the war. I used to bring his medals into school to show people what he had done.

“I started having ideas for a way to help other people like Grampy when I was 11. I talked to my mum about it after I was inspired by an older girl in my dance school who had also raised money for charity.

“Since then, it’s just been getting bigger all the time.”

Ed’s mum, Sarah, said:

Rebecca Futrall, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK said:

“We are so grateful for all the hard work Ed has put into fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“Dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK, with 850,000 people living with the condition. Our vision is a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. Fundraising like Ed’s is what will help us achieve this goal in the future.”

About the author

Philip Tubby