Pat helps the Lions to be Dementia Friends

Pat Nixon, 72, and her husband Eric Nixon, 87, from Fareham, are both Lions Club members. Eric was diagnosed with dementia almost six years ago ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151111-778)

Pat Nixon, 72, and her husband Eric Nixon, 87, from Fareham, are both Lions Club members. Eric was diagnosed with dementia almost six years ago ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151111-778)

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‘It’s better to be on the hill than over the hill’

  • Pat Nixon hopes Lions clubs will sign up to become dementia friends
  • The couple have both fought of cancer
  • Urge to back The News’ Tale Care Together campaign
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LIONS clubs have been their long-term passion – and now Pat and Eric Nixon want to use the clubs to spread more awareness about dementia.

Eric has been a Lion for 35 years, and his wife Pat for 20 years.

Pat Nixon

I gave a presentation and gave them a picture of what’s happening in their area when it comes to dementia

Six years ago the 87-year-old, who was in the RAF for 43 years, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

And in a devastating blow, a year later both were diagnosed with cancer, which Pat, 72, said helped put the dementia into perspective.

Pat, a former special education needs teacher, said: ‘After the dementia diagnosis we weren’t really sure and Eric wasn’t ready to go to support meetings.

‘Then a year later I had cancer of the womb and had a hysterectomy and Eric had bowel cancer.

‘But of us were fortunate and didn’t have to have chemotherapy and the dementia just went out of our minds and actually we were okay with that part.’

The couple, of Abbeyfield Drive, Fareham, are now on a mission to help as many Lions clubs in the area to back The News’ Take Care Together campaign and become dementia friends.

Pat said that the Lions clubs had been a massive part of the couple’s life, but that she took a step back from them so as to support Eric and make sure he could stay involved.

Pat held a presentation to four Lions clubs.

She said: ‘There were about 20 people from four Lions clubs – City of Portsmouth, Cosham, Hayling and Havant.

‘I don’t think people understand what dementia is and what happens.

‘I gave a presentation and gave them a picture of what’s happening in their area when it comes to dementia.

‘I would hope members would become Dementia Friends and also back The News campaign.’

And it doesn’t stop there. Pat, who is a dementia champion which means she’s able to give training, wants to run dementia friends sessions at sixth forms and colleges. And she’s hoping Lions clubs in the central southern region, and eventually all the country, will get on board with learning more about dementia.

If you are a Lions club, sixth-form class or college, and want to contact Pat for a dementia friends course, email priya.mistry@thenews.co.uk

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