Award winning actor and Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Carey Mulligan will host a virtual carol service with performances from Oscar nominated actors Jonathan Pryce CBE, and Lesley Manville OBE, indie rock band Scouting for Girls, Sir Trevor McDonald and composer Paul Harvey
People living with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus, accounting for more than a quarter of all deaths due to Covid. With many more deteriorating from the effects of lockdown and the impact of social isolation, it has never been more important to support Alzheimer’s Society. This year, Alzheimer’s Society’s carol concert on Thursday 17th December will be completely virtual with a star-studded programme bringing people together this Christmas, including readings, carols and special guests.
80-year-old musician and composer Paul Harvey, who has dementia and recently had his work premiered by the BBC Philharmonic will feature in the event. Videos featuring Paul playing a new composition he made from just four starting notes have gone viral and been viewed millions of times around the world.
Oscar nominated actor Jonathan Pryce will also deliver his rendition of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to get everyone into the festive spirit, with actress Lesley Manville reading a poem by supporter Alfie Benson about his grandmother’s experience of dementia.
Scouting for Girls will give audiences a Christmassy treat with a special performance of their version of Wham’s “Last Christmas”, and Sir Trevor McDonald will also give a festive reading.
With a raffle also taking place, prizes up for grabs include a Friends T-Shirt signed by David Schwimmer featuring his character’s well known catch-phrase “We were on a break!” to raise money to support people with dementia this Christmas.
Sadly, thousands of families are still unable to visit relatives in care homes, after eight months of lockdown. The Government’s recent announcement of the new care home guidance on visitations during the second lockdown, while well-intentioned, still needs more clarity and support for them to be able to open their doors. Alzheimer’s Society continues to campaign persistently on this issue, to ensure family carers are given key worker status with regular access to testing and personal protective equipment, so they can give loved ones the care no-one else can. Most recently, details of the pilot trialling key worker status were launched. The pilots can’t be an excuse to delay national rollout – lessons must be learnt speedily, and doors opened regardless of area transmission rates to avoid further tragedy.
Alzheimer’s Society’s vital support services have been used over 2.7 million times since March, showing people need us now more than ever.
Lesley Manville OBE, and Alzheimer’s Society supporter said: “I am delighted to take part in this year’s virtual Carols at Christmas and to bring Alfie Benson’s really moving poem to life for a wider audience. With so much uncertainty facing us this Christmas season, it has never been more important for us to come together (even if virtually!) to make sure people with dementia know they aren’t alone, and I hope as many people as possible join in on the online event on 17th December.”
Jonathan Pryce CBE, and Alzheimer’s Society supporter said: “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is one of my favourites, and hopefully it will serve to bring people together this Christmas. I really hope that everyone can support Alzheimer’s Society, to give vital help to people affected by dementia, and am delighted to join a line-up of stellar talent for the virtual event on the 17th. People with dementia have been hardest hit by coronavirus, so please do join in for some festive fun and support Alzheimer’s Society this Christmas.”
Kate Lee, CEO Alzheimer’s Society said: “Christmas will be a worrying and uncertain time for most people after an unbelievably hard year, not least the families missing loved ones and unable to see them face to face. We are delighted to invite everyone to come together and support people with dementia from a distance for some festive fun this December to lift spirits. With some amazing names in the line-up of our Carols at Christmas, I look forward to welcoming you on the 17th December.”
The virtual Carols at Christmas event will be starting online at 6.30pm on Thursday 17th December.
Taking part is free, but we ask audiences to consider making a donation to support our work. Sign up for tickets at alzheimers.org.uk to receive a link in the run-up to the big event. Alzheimer’s Society, like all charities, is facing an income shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic. Any gift made will directly support the hundreds of thousands of people affected by dementia, who are facing bigger challenges than ever before in the wake of the pandemic. Alzheimer’s Society is also connecting care homes across the country with a free link to view the virtual event.
None of this would be possible without the support of our event sponsors. Liz Fox, Head of Store Support at One Stop said “We are really proud to be Headline sponsor for Alzheimer’s Society’s Carols at Christmas service, as we are passionate about helping people in our local communities to live well with dementia and this feels like the perfect way to support with the festive cheer we all need this year.”
Zac Idun OBE, Partnerships Consultant at Slater and Gordon, said “Slater and Gordon are proud sponsors of this year’s Alzheimer’s Society Carols at Christmas. Dementia is something very personal to our business and our people, particularly to colleagues such as lawyer, Mark Hatzer who has been an enthusiastic advocate of the Alzheimer’s Society. We understand how important the tremendous work of the Alzheimer’s Society is for those affected and we’re happy to continue the support we’ve given over a number of years.”
This year Alzheimer’s Society are giving companies and other organisations the opportunity to make a donation in return for a ticket link for all employees. They can sign up at alzheimers.org.uk/carols using their company name and a link will be sent nearer to the event to share with staff. A recording will also be made available post event.
Other opportunities to support Alzheimer’s Society this Christmas include Elf Day taking place on 4th December and across the month,or donating to Alzheimer’s Society’s Christmas Appeal. More information can be found at alzheimers.org.uk