Friday, December 8, 2023

Renowned Dementia Campaigner To Speak In Belper

High profile dementia carer and campaigner Tommy Whitelaw – known as “the man who made Britain cry” – will be guest speaker in Belper on Thursday 5 October during Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust’s annual members’ meeting.

Through sharing his moving personal experience of caring for his late mother Joan for five years, Tommy has campaigned for better awareness of how dementia affects lives and for greater support for families and carers.

With an ageing population and increasing numbers of elderly people being diagnosed with dementia, Tommy’s story has attracted widespread interest. His Twitter posts @tommyNtour have attracted nearly 15,500 followers and he is in demand to share his story in person, on radio and TV.

He has been invited to talk at the free public meeting in Belper on 5 October which throws a spotlight on the work of the leading NHS provider of dementia, rehabilitation and other community health services in the county over the past year.

The meeting, at Belper Town Football Club, Bridge Street, Belper, DE56 1BA, opens at 12.30pm with health stalls and refreshments before a welcome address at 12.45pm from Prem Singh, chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust. It is part of the trust’s first ever #DCHSCommunityWeek, 2 – 8 October.

During the afternoon, there will be presentations from key people within the NHS trust on important aspects of the trust’s work during the past year and looking ahead, as well as Tommy’s talk and the chance for questions from the audience.

All are welcome to attend and there will be an opportunity to sign up to the trust’s 17,000-strong public membership on the day for anyone who wants to get more involved in the work of the trust.

The meeting will be live streamed via the trust’s website at for anyone who wants to follow proceedings but cannot attend in person.

Prem Singh, chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“As a foundation trust we are accountable to the communities we serve and this is a chance for our members and the wider public to come along, talk to our staff as well as hear about our achievements and performance during the past year.

“We are also delighted to welcome guest speaker Tommy who so movingly describes what it is like to care daily for someone you love with dementia. Dementia is a growing health issue for our communities and our services and I’m sure we’ll be able to learn from hearing Tommy’s story.”

The programme for the afternoon is:

  • 12.30pm Arrival and health stalls
  • 12.45pm Welcome from Prem Singh, chairman
  • 12.50pm Tommy Whitelaw’s dementia story, questions and answers
  • 2.00pm Integrated working in the community to support people with dementia, Dr Rick Meredith, medical director
  • 2.20pm Afternoon tea
  • 2.45pm  Prem Singh’s chairman’s report
  • 3.15pm Quality report from Carolyn White, chief nurse/director of quality
  • 3.30pm Annual accounts from Chris Sands, director of finance, information and strategy
  • 3.45pm Lead governor report from Bernard Thorpe
  • 4.00pm Chief executive’s thoughts on the year ahead from Tracy Allen
  • 4.15pm Questions
  •   4.30pm Close

For more information about the event please contact: Kirsteen Farrar, associate director of corporate governance/trust secretary, via email:, tel: 01773 525065 or write to Kirsteen at Babington Hospital, Derby Road, Belper, DE56 1WH.


Claire Meese


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