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Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society Jeremy Hughes has received the honorary title of Doctor of Science

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive to receive honorary degree from Exeter

The Chief Executive of one of Britain’s leading dementia charities has been awarded an honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding contributions to dementia research.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, received the honorary title of Doctor of Science at the University of Exeter 2018 Winter Graduation ceremony for his contribution to dementia research and awareness.

Jeremy, who was awarded a CBE in 2015, has striven to build up the researcher community, encouraging investigation into treatments, interventions and preventive measures for dementia.

One of his most successful initiatives is the Dementia Friends programme, which aims to change public perception of dementia through teaching sessions and volunteering. There are currently more than 2.5 million Dementia Friends in the UK.

Jeremy Hughes said: “Improving the lives of people living with dementia today, and finding how to prevent or cure it for future generations, is only made possible by collaboration between Alzheimer’s Society and cutting edge researchers. In being honoured with this Doctorate I see not just recognition of our existing partnership with the University of Exeter but also a commitment for the years to come.”

Under his leadership, Alzheimer’s Society established the Centre for Excellence scheme – its largest ever single investment into dementia care research at £6 million – of which Exeter is proudly part.

The University is working with Alzheimer’s Society on the largest UK study focusing on ‘living well’ with dementia. Led by Professor Linda Clare, the IDEAL programme addresses a gap in dementia research by following people with dementia across a six-year time period. Large studies such as this are rare in dementia research.

This work is expected to lead to the development of strategies which have a positive impact on quality of life at all stages of the condition.

Professor Clive Ballard, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, said: “Jeremy’s dedication and commitment to improving the lives of others is truly admirable. His work has helped countless people in the UK to live well with dementia. Jeremy has provided outstanding support to Exeter over the years, and we are incredibly excited to continue working with Alzheimer’s Society on our outstanding dementia research, an area in which we are fast growing. It’s a real privilege to award Jeremy this honorary degree.”

Recently, dementia overtook cancer as the most feared health condition in the UK. Currently 40 million people live with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias worldwide. It is expected that this number will increase to more than 100 million by 2050. In the UK there are more than 800,000 people with dementia and almost 300,000 of them reside in care homes.

Jeremy’s career in health and social care charities began in the 1970s when, as a Geography student, he met the Chilean former Education Minister exiled by General Pinochet. This led to his involvement in the Chile Solidarity Campaign where he worked to support refugees and campaigned against the military dictatorship.

He has served in leadership roles for Action for Children, the British Red Cross and the International Red Cross in Geneva, among many other national and international charities.

From 2005 to 2010, he was Chief Executive of the Breakthrough Brest Cancer campaign. This campaign sought to secure a future free from fear of breast cancer, a once long-term aspiration which now seems very achievable.

To find out more about the contributions of Alzheimer’s Society contributions to Exeter research, follow #ExeterDementia on Twitter, or visit the Exeter Dementia website.

Date: 14 December 2018