Dementia Hero Awards 2023

The Dementia Hero Awards is an annual event to celebrate carers for people with dementia, innovators in dementia research, campaigners and people within media who are fighting for the rights of people affected by dementia.

Register your interest

Planning is underway for our 2023 Dementia Hero Awards which will be taking place in the Spring. 

Nominations will be open in the Autumn. Register your interest to be the first to know the latest news as it's announced. 

Register your interest 2023

What are the Dementia Hero Awards?

The awards recognise the inspirational achievements of those who care for people with dementia, those finding innovative solutions in research, and the campaigners and media fighting for the rights of people with dementia.

Throughout the pandemic in particular, individuals, groups and organisations did outstanding things to support people affected by dementia. We want to recognise these dementia heroes and celebrate them.

Dementia Hero Awards 2021

Event details

The Dementia Hero Awards ceremony took place on Thursday 20 May during Dementia Action Week 2021.

Read more about each of this year's award categories.


Download your copy of the 24-page ceremony programme as a PDF.


The hero awards ceremony was hosted by TV presenter Richard Madeley and also presented by Society Ambassadors Angela Rippon CBE, Carey Mulligan and Sir Tony Robinson and our supporters Judy Finnigan and Anne-Marie Duff.

Rewatch the Dementia Hero Awards

If you'd like to rewatch the award ceremony, you can do so on YouTube.

Winners and finalists

We received more than 450 nominations from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and were blown away by the care and compassion, innovation, and dedication shown in supporting people affected by dementia in the pandemic. 

The nominations we received this year were truly incredible and after their deliberations our judges have chosen the following winners and finalists:

Dementia Hero Award for Fundraising         

Winner – Allan Evans – Steel Works Santa

Haydn and Bodhi Williams

Nicholas Mullings       


Dementia Hero Award for Innovation 

Winner – DEEDS – Dementia Engaged and Empowered Derry & Strabane        

Dementia NI   

Margaret House and TDW Radio


Dementia Hero Award for Research   

Winner – EMBED-Care COVID, UCL and King’s College

Dr Clarissa Giebel     

INCLUDE Project, University of Exeter


Dementia Hero Award for Campaigning       

Winner – Graeme McGrory 

Enomwoyi Damali

John Amos     


Dementia Hero Award for Care and Compassion   

Winner – Morcia Downer

Heather Rayne           

Mario Cardoni            


Dementia Hero Award for Professional Excellence

Winner – Royal Star and Garter     

Care UK

Paul Hunt


Dementia Hero Award for Dementia Friendly Business (Large)        

Winner – Santander UK

Cadent Gas

Museum of London (Memories of London Team)


Dementia Hero Award for Dementia Friendly Business (Small/Medium)    

Winner – National Trust - Birmingham Back to Backs - Reminiscence team

Community Dental Services - CIC

Moving Waves           


Dementia Hero Award for Dementia Voice   

Winner – Alex Winstanley

3 Nations Dementia Working Group

Gail Gregory  


Dementia Hero Award for Broadcast (National)      

Joint winner – Alison Holt – BBC News at 10 / Panorama

Joint winner – Curve Media – Our Dementia Choir

Claire Kendall – BBC News

Lewis Goodall – Newsnight

Sanchia Berg – BBC Radio 4

Virgin Media UK – Chris Evans Show


Dementia Hero Award for Broadcast (Regional)     

Winner – Andrew Edwards – BBC Radio Leeds  

Debbie Tubby – BBC Look East       

Matt Treacy – BBC South Today

Steffan Messenger – BBC Wales


Dementia Hero Award for Print/Online Journalism (National)    

Winner – Daily Mail Health team

Alison Graves – Platinum

Amy Packer – Reach PLC

Daily Mail Sport

Eleanor Hayward – Daily Mail

Giles Sheldrick – Express

Rosie Sandall – Yours Magazine


Dementia Hero Award for Print/Online Journalism (Regional)   

Winner – Lisa Smyth – Belfast Telegraph

Charlotte Cox –Manchester Evening News

James Holt – Lancashire Evening Post        


Dementia Hero Award for Outstanding Achievement       

Winner – Paul Harvey          

Christine Maddocks

Claire Puckey

Our winners' stories

These are the stories of our incredible Dementia Heroes. Read all about them here:

Dementia Hero Award for Fundraising         

Allan Evans – Steel Works Santa

Allan managed to bring magic, joy and hope to so many people across South Wales during the 2020 festive period. He, and his family, held a number of Covid-safe fundraising events allowing children across the wider area the chance to still see 'the real Santa' in what was a dark and bleak time for many. Allan raised more than £10,000 for Alzheimer's Society.


Dementia Hero Award for Innovation 

DEEDS – Dementia Engaged and Empowered Derry & Strabane           

Before lockdown, DEEDS operated at full capacity with their groups, education work and dementia friendly events. COVID meant they had to close their doors and find a new way of working. DEEDS developed a range of highly innovative and creative programming to continue to reach the needs of our members and their families, hitting the ground running from the second week of lockdown, including a phone service, Doorstep Melodies and Carers Connect.


Dementia Hero Award for Research   

EMBED-Care COVID, UCL and King’s College

EMBED-Care aims to develop new ways to improve end of life care for people dying with or from dementia and their carer. EMBED-Care COVID was an extension of EMBED-Care programme aimed at creating an end-of-life decision aid specifically for the COVID epidemic. The resulting decision aid is now being widely used throughout the NHS. Work was led by Dr Nuriye Kupeli and Dr Nathan Davies.


Dementia Hero Award for Campaigning       

Graeme McGrory     

Campaigning locally, through council engagement, local press and regional radio appearances, Graeme has championed the vital role which loved ones play in care; while supporting the national calls to Government to ensure safe, yet meaningful visits in care homes during the pandemic. Despite his personal distress, Graeme has shone a spotlight on Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a rare condition affecting the vision and spatial awareness of people like his partner Ann.


Dementia Hero Award for Care and Compassion   

Morcia Downer

Morcia's mum Sandy was admitted to a nursing home as her dementia had worsened and she was no longer safe in her own home. No one could have foreseen the consequences of the pandemic and the problems it would cause with Sandy not being able to see Morcia daily. Morcia has gone over and above to find ways of keeping her mum calm whilst integrating her into her new surroundings, like preparing her home cooked Jamaican-influenced food. Sandy is so lucky to have such a wonderful daughter and would be proud of the sacrifices Morcia makes to keep her safe.


Dementia Hero Award for Professional Excellence

Royal Star and Garter         

The highly trained team at Royal Star & Garter support the well-being of veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, offering loving, person-centred care, in line with residents’ feelings and wishes. This is more important now than ever to combat lockdown isolation. Life in the Homes has changed during the pandemic, but our teams have worked hard to make sure there’s still fun and laughter, with a wealth of engaging activities on offer.


Dementia Hero Award for Dementia Friendly Business (Large)        

Santander UK

Santander is working to become the UK’s best dementia-friendly bank. The bank has improved colleagues’ understanding of dementia, introduced dementia-friendly processes and products, and provided vital support to people affected by dementia during the pandemic. They created the dedicated Santander Dementia Steering Group, comprised of Santander employees, customers and Alzheimer’s Society service users. Through dementia-friendly products and a Dementia Guide, Santander is ensuring thousands of PABD access vital advice and are supported against isolation.


Dementia Hero Award for Dementia Friendly Business (Small/Medium)    

National Trust - Birmingham Back to Backs - Reminiscence team

A team of dedicated National Trust volunteers known as the Reminiscence team based at the Birmingham Back to Backs have been working with the Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (SMHFT) to make a real meaningful difference with and for people with dementia and their families. At a time when isolation is so rife and even the strongest of us may be feeling the struggle, this group of volunteers are combating isolation and improving access in the most meaningful way.


Dementia Hero Award for Dementia Voice   

Alex Winstanley

Alex has written, 'My Grandma Has Dementia', a children's book that aims to decrease the anxiety that children can feel from family members living with dementia. Alex's grandma, who inspired the book, passed away just before Christmas, so the book is now her legacy in the fight against dementia. The book has so far sold hundreds of copies worldwide, with a recent live reading of the book reaching over 6,000 people in less than a week.


Dementia Hero Award for Broadcast (National)      

Alison Holt – BBC News at 10 / Panorama

Alison Holt, following her applauded Panorama ‘Care in Crisis’ (2019), has consistently sought to expose the issues faced by social care recipients, in particular care homes, throughout the pandemic, including the excellent Panorama programme ‘The Forgotten Frontline’. This explored the unfolding tragedy in care homes as they struggled to protect residents against the virus – cameras were allowed into two very different care homes, revealing sensitively the dedication of care staff, managers’ frustrations and the heartache of families affected.

Curve Media – Our Dementia Choir

Curve Media revisited the acclaimed ‘Our Dementia Choir’, from their first BBC series, in lockdown to see what happened when they are given the chance to sing at the English National Opera.  Vicky McClure, whose relationship with Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain in Nottingham, helped inspire the original series, went to interview one choir member in particular in a very moving programme. Curve Media have carefully brought out stories of a few choir members to show the impact of dementia – and lockdown, with an incredible combination of sadness, hope and warmth.


Dementia Hero Award for Broadcast (Regional)     

Andrew Edwards – BBC Radio Leeds       

Insightful, powerful and, at times, heart-breaking – "Mum and Me: The Dementia Diary" is a weekly audio diary broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds. Since spring 2019 Andrew Edwards has been sharing his diary in an unfolding story about his mum. He cares passionately about discussing the experience of dementia from an "ordinary", non-specialist perspective. He takes off his radio presenter’s hat, and speaks honestly, emotionally, and from the heart, about what it’s like caring for a loved one who’s living with dementia.


Dementia Hero Award for Print/Online Journalism (National)    

Daily Mail Health team

Sophie Borland and Ben Spencer have been covering social care long before it had the notoriety it does today, and that notoriety is in part thanks to their reporting. Articles were very well written, thoroughly researched, and the influence on raising social care up the agenda was recognised. Additionally, Eleanor Hayward’s reporting has been consistent all year and the focus on care home visiting campaign and her spotlight on Christmas visits was impactful. People affected by dementia have been firmly at the heart of the campaign, their stories leading every front page, inspiring hundreds of thousands of people affected by dementia to unite with the public and ensure social care was a lead election issue.


Dementia Hero Award for Print/Online Journalism (Regional)   

Lisa Smyth – Belfast Telegraph

Lisa Smyth shone a light on the coronavirus crisis facing care homes in NI from the outset. Lisa used her platform to call the NI Executive to account and demand the public were told the scale of the issue. She was also the first to break the story of how waiting lists for dementia services had soared by 300%. Lisa put people with dementia at the centre of every story.


Dementia Hero Award for Outstanding Achievement       

Paul Harvey  

Paul aged 80, was diagnosed with dementia in early 2019. Since then, Paul has had the courage to talk openly and honestly about his dementia. It was whilst on national TV, that he was set a challenge to compose a piece of music based on four random notes chosen by his son Nick. The piece that Paul composed went viral. The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra were so moved that they recreated the song, Four Notes - Paul’s Tune with full orchestra. Businessman, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Sir Tom Hunter, was so inspired by the piece that he made a charity donation of £1m split between Alzheimer’s Society, and Music for Dementia.

The Dementia Hero Awards 2021 was sponsored by Tunstall Healthcare


'For over 60 years, Tunstall has pioneered the development of technology that enables independent living and new models of care delivery, improving the lives of more than five million people worldwide.

'We empower people, including those living with dementia, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and long-term conditions, to live as independently, happily and healthily as they can.

'As technology advances, we have the capability to not just react to events, but to predict and even prevent them using data-driven insights. This Cognitive Care approach provides an intelligent solution which connects services, helping to transform the way health and care is delivered.'

Visit their website:

Find them on Twitter: @TunstallHealth


The Dementia Hero Award for Innovation is sponsored by Santander UK

San 2

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2020, the bank had around 21,900 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

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