Special medal for volunteer Pam

Pam Andrews has been presented with her BEM for her volunteer work in Mansfield and Ashfield for the Alzheimer's Society and with dementia carers.
Pam Andrews has been presented with her BEM for her volunteer work in Mansfield and Ashfield for the Alzheimer's Society and with dementia carers.

A dedicated volunteer who has provided invaluable support to people with dementia and their carers has been honoured for her work.

Pam Andrews was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace, in recognition of her services to the communities of Mansfield and Ashfield.

Pam (68) has given up countless hours of her time during the last 20 years and more, providing support to people who care for dementia sufferers.

She was one of the founders of an Alzheimer’s Society support group in Mansfield that branched out into Kirkby and Sutton because of the great need of such a service among the local population.

She now helps run the Forget-Me-Not dementia support group that is held at the Trinity Centrepoint in Kirkby every month, holding the position of chairman.

Pam says that attitudes towards dementia have changed greatly in the last 20 years.

“People didn’t recognise the word Alzheimer’s in those days,” she said.

“It was always ‘a form of senile dementia’ and was only in the back of people’s minds.

“People would not accept that it was a disease of the brain and it was mainly thought of as something that only old people got.”

Pam, who cared for her own mother when she developed dementia, also did - and still does - a lot of work raising awareness about dementia and Alzheimer’s such as giving talks, as well as fundraising for the cause.

“It has helped to make people aware of the word Alzheimer’s and realise people needed support,” she said.

The main aim of Forget-Me-Not is to provide people who care for someone with dementia a place to go to chat to other carers.

They can share experiences, seek guidance or advice or just enjoy a cup of tea and some time to themselves.

Said Pam, who now lives in Oxton but previously has lived in Mansfield and Skegby: “It helps to talk to people.

“But it’s very difficult when you are caring for someone with dementia to not have the people you are caring for around, so we also welcome the people who they are caring for.”

Pam has no intention of stopping her volunteering or her fundraising work fighting Alzheimer’s and its effects.

“It’s just keeping on going because unfortunately, there’s still no cure for it,” she added.

Forget-Me-Not meets on the third Monday of the month from 1.30-3.30pm. Call Mansfield 556065 for details.