Raise a smile

From the October / November 2017 issue of our magazine, we speak to an Alzheimer's Society supporter who is enjoying Elf Day to help fight dementia.

Elf Day supporter Ally Berry and her boss.

Ally Berry had already completed Snowdon and Stonehenge treks for Alzheimer's Society when she decided to get involved in Elf Day last year.

Although a very different way to support the cause, she brought the same enthusiasm to this annual event, encouraging her Center Parcs colleagues in Wiltshire to dress as elves for the day. She even persuaded her boss to join in the fun.

Treasured memory

Ally decided to fundraise for the Society after her late father developed vascular dementia alongside his existing Parkinson's disease.

'It was a very emotional time for us, watching an incredibly loved and once very proud man being reduced to a shell of himself who could no longer do anything for himself,' she says.

'He reduced me to tears on my birthday by saying "happy birthday" out of the blue, which is a memory I will treasure for a long time.'

'Dressing up at work was incredibly fun and being able to get the boss to participate as well was amazing,' says Ally.

Ally's father spent the last two years of his life in a care home, alongside other residents with dementia.

'We had to make the heart-breaking decision to put Dad into a home where he could get the help that we could no longer provide,' she says.

'Spending so much time in a place where people are so confused made me want to do something to help raise money for the cause.'

Festive fun

Held in the lead-up to Christmas, Elf Day is all about enjoying some silliness for a very serious cause.

Supporters can organise a festive charity party, hold a themed bake sale or 'unleash their inner elf' by dressing head to toe in elf attire – which is exactly what Ally and her workmates did to raise over £500.

'Dressing up at work was incredibly fun and being able to get the boss to participate as well was amazing,' she says.

'It brought a different atmosphere to our working day. The guests across our Longleat Village would stop, smile and wave.

'The kids loved seeing so many elves going around the village on bikes and buses.'

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