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Documentary charts Thunderbirds creator's life with dementia

Documentary charts Thunderbirds creator's life with dementia
7th January 2014

A documentary charting Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson's battle with dementia has been launched.

Mr Anderson was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011 and passed away aged 83 on Boxing Day last year.

Commissioned by Fanderson, the official Gerry Anderson appreciation society, the documentary shows the film producer and his son, Jamie, taking about how the condition was affecting their lives in the months leading up to his death.

Mr Anderson explains how his memory had been failing him for more than a decade, but his symptoms were mistaken as being part of the normal ageing process.

It also shows how Jamie felt when his father could no longer recognise him.

"He now doesn’t remember that I am his son, and he has certainly lost the concept of a father-son relationship and what that means. He’ll quite often ask 'Who are you?' to me," Jamie explains in the film.

Mr Anderson was aware that he had a problem and agreed to donate his brain to the Brains for Dementia Research project.

The final scenes of the film show Jamie taking about his father's death and it pained him to have to move him into a care home in the last few weeks of his life.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "Gerry Anderson has been an outstanding supporter of Alzheimer’s Society and campaigner on behalf of people with dementia.

"He was determined to spend the last year of his life speaking out for others living with dementia to ensure their voices were heard and their lives improved."

An estimated 820,000 people are currently living in the UK with some form of dementia and that figure is expected to rise above the one million mark by 2021.

Gerry Anderson began working in television during the 1950s and had his most successful period in the following decade when his Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90 creations were extremely popular.

To see the documentary in full, visit fanderson.org.uk

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.