VIDEO: Opportunity to unleash inner elf in aid of charity
Staff at The Morpeth Larder will be donning green suits and pointy ears to raise money for Alzheimer's Society.
The coffee shop and delicatessen is among a number of organisations in Northumberland that will be supporting the dementia charity by signing up for Elf Day.
The official Elf Day takes place on Friday, but participants can unleash their inner elf at any time throughout the month.
They can fund-raise in a variety of ways – from dressing up and making a donation to organising festive bake sales or movie nights and charging for refreshments.
Sarah Silcock, manager of The Morpeth Larder, said this was the third time she and her staff were supporting the initiative.
Alzheimer’s Society is a cause close to her heart after she saw at first-hand how her granddad, Raymond Hogg of Prudhoe, deteriorated following a dementia diagnosis.
The 27-year-old, of Morpeth, said it was hard for her to witness how dementia affected him. He died in January 2017.
She added: “My granddad was a lovely, kind, caring gentleman who would do anything to help anybody, and he was a great listener.
“Sadly, the dementia affected the part of his brain responsible for speech, so even though we think he could understand us, he could usually only respond with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
“But he always had a smile for everyone, even towards the end of his life. I think that was his way of communicating.
“I was very close to him, especially as a child. He and my gran virtually raised me up until the age of 10 as both my parents worked.
“I think granddad would be very proud that I am supporting Alzheimer’s Society through Elf Day – the staff really enjoy it and so do customers.
“We raise money with a ‘guess the elf’ game, which costs £1, with the chance to win a hamper, which we donate. Last year, we raised around £335.
“But it’s not just about fund-raising. By getting involved we’ve all become more dementia aware, which is important from a business point of view as we have a lot of elderly customers.
“Sometimes you recognise when people are having problems and you know that you just have to be more patient because dementia could be a factor.”
Alzheimer’s Society hopes that more organisations follow The Morpeth Larder’s example and individuals also join in the fun to help improve the lives of people with dementia today and to fund research for tomorrow.
There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, including almost 5,000 in Northumberland. The national figure is set to rise to one million by 2021.
Dawn Barrett, community fund-raiser for Alzheimer’s Society in the North East, said: “By joining us for the Elf Day initiative, you’ll be raising vital funds in the fight against dementia.
“We work tirelessly to challenge perceptions, fund research and improve and provide care and support. However, too many are facing the condition alone without adequate support.
“We urgently need to find a cure and offer help and understanding to people affected.”
Register for a free fund-raising pack at www.alzheimers.org.uk/elfday – which includes posters, a chief elf badge and other fund-raising idea