Alzheimer's Society: Dementia charity auction attended by Gareth Southgate raises £139k

"It's clear the condition is a big issue of our time," said England manager Southgate, who attended the fundraising activity for Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia; host and Sky Sports News anchor Hayley McQueen said: "Sport and dementia are both very close to my heart"

The fundraiser for Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia featured a Q&A with Gareth Southgate
Image: The fundraiser for Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia featured a Q&A with Gareth Southgate

A charity auction attended by England manager Gareth Southgate and hosted by Sky Sports News anchor Hayley McQueen has so far raised £139,000 for Alzheimer's Society.

Held at the Oval, the event kicked off fundraising activity for Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia (SUAD) - an initiative that aims to increase awareness of available dementia support, make sports dementia friendly, and fund and support research into any links between sport and dementia.

It comes as the Football Association begins its two-year partnership with Alzheimer's Society to help transform the way sport supports people affected by dementia.

The evening included a Q&A with Gareth Southgate, president of the League Managers Association (LMA), who sponsored the event.

"It seems barely a month passes before we hear of yet another person affected by dementia, whether from within the world of sport or our own families, so it's clear that the condition is a big issue of our time," Southgate said.

England manager's past and present - Gareth Southgate with Glenn Hoddle
Image: England manager's past and present - Gareth Southgate with Glenn Hoddle

"The FA's partnership with Alzheimer's Society and its Sport United Against Dementia campaign to tackle dementia, are so important and have launched at a critical time. People with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus and they don't know where to turn for support.

"We need to raise awareness but also funds for Alzheimer's Society's support services, to bring dementia out of the shadows and ensure no-one affected by dementia feels alone. That's why fundraising events like these are vital.

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"The event has been a huge success - it was wonderful to see so many people come out to bid on some fantastic prizes.

"Alzheimer's Society wants to reach everyone affected by dementia to make sure they get the support and information they so desperately need."

Prizes included a game of cricket at Lords with Kumar Sangakkara; a Michelin-starred dinner experience with England rugby legend Mike Tindall, and a weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix hosted by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Every item was donated meaning 100 per cent of the successful bid price was donated to Alzheimer's Society.

(L-R) Chair of Surrey County Cricket and Sport United Against Dementia, Richard Thompson; Sky Sports News anchor Hayley McQueen; England men’s Manager Gareth Southgate; Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Kate Lee; Pete Middleton, Alzheimer’s Society supporter and speaker living with dementia
Image: (L-R) Chair of Surrey County Cricket and Sport United Against Dementia, Richard Thompson; Sky Sports News anchor Hayley McQueen; England men’s manager Gareth Southgate; Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Kate Lee; Pete Middleton, Alzheimer’s Society

The event was hosted by McQueen, the daughter of former Manchester United player Gordon McQueen, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in January of this year.

She said: "Sport and dementia are both very close to my heart, and I never expected them to be connected until my dad's heart-breaking diagnosis back in January.

"By being a Champion for Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia campaign, I'm able to use my voice for those who can't, helping to make sure people affected by dementia aren't forgotten. We know more research is needed, but this takes time and for families like mine, time is not on our side.

"That's why support services are so crucial - Alzheimer's Society's services have been used over six million times since March 2020 but there are still thousands more who don't know where to turn.

"Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia campaign will do so much to change how people access support and remain connected to their communities, through the nation's love of sport and both me and my beloved dad are fully behind the campaign."

Alzheimer's Society's SUAD initiative is led by a board of industry figureheads, including representatives from the Football's League Managers Association and Premier League, England and Wales Cricket Board and Premiership Rugby.

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said: "It has never been more important for sporting entities, which are often the lifeblood of communities, to understand and include people affected by dementia.

"By supporting Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia campaign, the LMA hopes to ensure people with dementia are understood, valued and able to be a part of society. Mental health and wellbeing are incredibly important to the LMA and its members, and we will continue to work with leaders from across football, cricket and rugby to help shape and drive this initiative."

Kate Lee, Chief Executive at Alzheimer's Society, added: "Tonight kicked off a series of fundraising and awareness events that will help Alzheimer's Society transform the way sport supports people affected by dementia.

"Dementia can be truly devastating, stripping people of their memories, abilities, and connections to the world. But with the right support and investment in research, people with dementia can continue to enjoy life for longer, while we search for the treatments of the future.

"We are incredibly grateful to our amazing Sport United Against Dementia Champions and the Board, and everyone who dug deep tonight to raise money for Alzheimer's Society. Together, we hope to make a significant difference to everyone affected by dementia."

Joe Cole and Glenn Hoddle attended the charity auction
Image: Joe Cole and Glenn Hoddle attended the charity auction

Pete Middleton who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease aged 64 in 2019 also spoke at the event.

Funds raised will help to increase capacity of Alzheimer's Society's urgently needed support services so the charity can reach even more people. There has been a huge demand for Alzheimer's Society's services after people with dementia have been worst hit by the pandemic.

The partnership between Alzheimer's Society and The FA will use sport's unrivalled power and reach to increase support and generate significant funds and awareness of dementia, hoping to change the lives of people affected by dementia for the better.

To find out more and donate to Alzheimer's Society's Sport United Against Dementia, visit alzheimers.org.uk/SUAD

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