NORM McNamara is aiming to make every day an awareness day for dementia.
Mr McNamara, who grew up in Astley Bridge, was diagnosed with the disease seven years ago and describes it as like experiencing “Groundhog Day”.
After moving to Devon 15 years ago, he founded the Torbay Dementia Action Alliance, which brings awareness of the disease into local businesses by awarding a "purple angel" to organisations whose staff members have been trained to be dementia aware.
Since its conception, the Purple Angel has gone global — with United States, Canada and New Zealand requesting permission to use it.
Thanks to Bolton Dementia Support Group, in Thicketford Road, a number of purple angels have also been awarded to businesses in his home town.
Mr McNamara, aged 56, said: “For people with Alzheimer’s it’s like having a mind which is on a 15 minute loop. It’s like Groundhog Day.
“Both my grand-mother and my father had dementia, so I have seen the late stages of it and the horror that it brings.
“But I have two choices — I can sit around waiting for it to take over, or I can do something to help others and spread the word.
“The Alzheimer’s society has an awareness week, which is great, but I aim to raise awareness about the disease every day of the year, because that is how often I and other people living with dementia have to deal with it.”
Since his diag-nosis, Mr McNamara — who has 22 grand-children — has had to quit his job as a manager and his wife Elaine is now his full-time carer.
He said: “Dementia can happen to anybody — regardless of age or gender.
“The common misconception is that it is a disease for the elderly, but it’s not.
“It’s a disease of the brain that can happen at any time.
“I have heard of an 11-year-old who was diagnosed with it, and I have a friend with it who is only 42.
“It happened to me after I came up to Bolton seven years ago to see my mum and within two weeks I had no memory of seeing her.”
To find out more about the Purple Angel awareness scheme, visit purpleangel.org.uk.