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Issue:- 19 December 2014

Bank worker Elaine leads fundraising drive for people with dementia

Elaine Cull of Lloyds in Pyramids Shopping Centre is pictured.

A Birkenhead bank worker whose parents have both been battling dementia has led a 3 year fundraising spree for a charity which helps families dealing with the condition.

The team at Lloyds in Pyramids Shopping Centre have been diligently raising money for The Alzheimer's Society for the past few years, a charity choice that has been taken to heart by customer service manager Elaine Cull who has watched both her parents, Margaret and Norman, living with dementia.

The 48 year old from Upton has spearheaded the branch's efforts, which will culminate this year in the raffle of five huge hampers, after her mum, Margaret was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2012.

Elaine, who lives with her husband Eric and 2 children, said:- "It has been hard for us and it's quite sad as Mum was always so involved with the grandchildren, and really the matriarch of the family and she's not able to do all those things anymore.  And my Dad is just a bit lost as she was always the one who organised everything. We've done what we can to make their lives easier and we go in every day after work and cook for them."

After 2 years of seeing her mum deal with dementia, Elaine was devastated when recently her dad, Norman, started showing signs of dementia himself.

She said:- "He hasn't had a formal diagnosis but he is starting to have problems too. The last couple of years haven't been great but we've pulled together as a family. They are happy and they're warm and they're loved so we just take it one day at a time."

Elaine’s parents Margaret and Norman.

This first hand experience has made Elaine an ideal host of the bank's Tea And Talk sessions that have been an integral part of Lloyds' fundraising efforts over the years.

Setting up an informal social group in the Pyramids branch, staff have invited customers affected by Alzheimer's to come in, chat, enjoy a homemade cake and a drink while sharing information about the disease and the support that there is available.

Elaine said:- "It has helped on a personal level that I can talk to people about the problems and what help there is out there and a lot of people have really appreciated being able to come in and do that."

Collecting donations at the same time, the events have gathered more than £1,000 so far and the raffle of the hampers will be the final fundraiser for The Alzheimer's Society before Lloyds change their chosen charity next year.

Elaine, who has worked with Lloyds for 29 years, said:- "We've put these lovely hampers together from donations that all the staff have brought in. There are all sorts of goodies in them; wine, chocolates, Christmas puddings – and the raffle tickets are just £1 each."

Elaine Cull, Customer Service Manager at Lloyds Bank (left) is pictured with Sue Newnes from The Alzheimer's Society.

The Lloyds team at the Pyramids has worked closely with the local Alzheimer's Society office in Birkenhead throughout their fundraising efforts, often asking representatives from the charity for information or to join them in spreading awareness.

Sue Newnes from The Alzheimer Society's Wirral office said:- "In a word, the support we have had from Lloyds over the years has been wonderful, both with the fundraising and awareness work.  The thing that has really impressed me about them is that they have supported not only their customers, but also their staff. They have done so much training to make them aware and become so much more dementia friendly that they really have taken the lead in the Wirral.  We can't thank them enough for all their efforts."

Tickets for the hampers are on sale in the Lloyds Bank in Pyramids Shopping Centre.

For more information about Pyramids Shopping Centre go to:- or go onto the centre's Facebook page or Twitter account @PyramidsSC to find out more.

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