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Northwood Hills dementia centre worker to take on gruelling Great North Run
A 52-YEAR-OLD is taking on the gruelling challenge of the Great North Run, to raise cash for a centre for dementia sufferers in Northwood Hills.
Paul Gardner, an employee at the Templeton Centre, the Harrow and Hillingdon branch of the Alzheimers Society in Joel Street, hopes to raise at least ÃÂ£1,000 by completing the 13.1 mile half marathon.
He plans to use the money to upgrade the centre environment by introducing musical equipment, a DVD player and a computer, for music therapy sessions.
Mr Gardner, who lives in Harrow Weald, said: "A lot of our work involves caring for younger people suffering with dementia, who are in their 40s, 50s and 60s.
"I have been running music and gym sessions for some of our clients in a flat adjacent to the main building, and I have seen the way that people can benefit from these activities, and how much they enjoy them.
"I've even grown to believe that the activities I have done with clients have slowed the progress of their dementia.
"New equipment will help to enhance clients' musical experience and the overall quality of their visits to the centre.
"Many younger people that come here don't share the same interests as elderly clients with dementia and we work hard to find activities that keep them stimulated and occupied.
"A new computer would also be particularly useful for helping people to develop an understanding of how to use the internet and gather information about subjects they have little or no knowledge of."
Having previously completed the Great North Run - which this year snakes between Newcastle and South Shields on September 19 - as well as the Harrow and Hillingdon half marathons, Mr Gardner is unfazed about the task that lies ahead.
"I am actually feeling pretty good about the run," he said. "I am a member of the Harrow Metros Running Club so I have been training hard with them, building up my mileage, and I often run to and from work.
"When I reach the finish line, I think I will feel tired, relieved but most importantly elated that I will hopefully have been able to make a difference to the dementia sufferers who use our centre.
"Anyone who supports me is also supporting people with dementia as they fight to live as full a life as they can, in spite of their condition."
Templeton Centre manager, Linda Matthews, added: "We are all very proud of Paul's efforts to improve the centre by doing the run.
"People with dementia are exactly like you and I - they need a little bit more help and understanding, but they enjoying doing just the same things as us.
"This centre was set up because most others cater for elderly people, but many of the younger people here have families and different interests and issues in life.
"People like Paul help us to continue offering a dementia support service and enrich sufferers lives."
To sponsor Mr Gardner, visit www.justgiving.com/paul-gardner-northrun-templeton
For more information about the Templeton Centre, call 01923 823 999.
Visit www.alzheimers.org.uk to learn more about dementia.
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