As Christmas approaches, a book of celebrity memories about the science-fiction drama Doctor Who, entitled Behind the Sofa, is flying off the shelves to boost funds for Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK. Jonathan Ross, Lynda Bellingham, Al Murray and Martina Cole are among more than 100 famous contributors. All the proceeds from book sales are being donated to the UKâ€™s leading dementia research charity and the total so far has reached over Â£20,000.
Behind the Sofa also contains recollections from a host of former stars of the long-running BBC series, including Hugh Bonneville and Tracy-Ann Oberman, with illustrations by artist Ben Morris.
Author and Whovian Steve Berry, 41, from Ware in Hertfordshire,Â was inspired to compile Behind the Sofa in memory of his mum Janet who died with early-onset Alzheimerâ€™s in 2009.
â€œThe idea for the book came to me when Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005, after a 16-year gap. It was just after my mum was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimerâ€™s â€“ she was only in her 50s. I was shocked to learn that little could be done to help her and appalled at the lack of funding for research for new treatments. I thought, â€˜What would the Doctor do if faced with an enemy like Alzheimerâ€™s?â€™â€
â€œSince then Iâ€™ve been on a mission to help the experts, Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK. Behind the Sofa has been four years in the making and 100 per cent of the proceeds are being donated to the charityâ€™s pioneering research into the disease and other forms of dementia. All the love and care in the world canâ€™t cure Alzheimerâ€™s â€“ research is the only answer. Everyone who buys a copy will give hope to the 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia today, including over 6,000 people in Cambridgeshire.
â€œIâ€™ve been truly astonished, both by the support of the Whovian community who have purchased the book in their thousands, and by the generosity of the celebrities who gave up their time to help. Behind the Sofa is a lasting legacy to Mum and Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK.
â€œIn addition, PayPal, the online payment company which processed the pre-orders of the book in March, waived its fees and instead gave the money to the charity in the form of a Â£1,000 donation.â€
Dr Marie Janson, Director of Development at Alzheimerâ€™s Research UK, said:
â€œWe are so grateful to Steve and everyone who has added their Doctor Who memories to this brilliant book. The Â£20,000 raised from sales of Behind the Sofa already is a tremendous result â€“ enough to fund 1,000 hours of world-class research and vital equipment for our scientists. This amazing contribution is bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimerâ€™s disease and other forms of dementia.
â€œThe brain is one of the most complex parts of our body, with more connections than there are stars in the galaxy – there is still so much we need to understand. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future yet funding for research lags far behind other serious diseases. We rely entirely on our wonderful supporters like Steve to fund our crucial research.â€
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