TV presenter Fiona Phillips has revealed she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last year, at the age of 61.
The broadcast journalist received the diagnosis a year ago after suffering with symptoms such as brain fog and anxiety.
She told The Mirror it’s something she has ‘feared for a long time’ and that it has ‘ravaged’ her family after both her parents, her grandparents and uncle were all ‘crippled’ with the disease.
Fiona, who is now 62, is undergoing trials for a revolutionary new drug which scientists hope could slow or even reverse the illness for millions of sufferers in the years to come.
The former GMTV presenter said: “This disease has ravaged my family and now it has come for me.
“And all over the country there are people of all different ages whose lives are being affected by it — it’s heartbreaking. I just hope I can help find a cure which might make things better for others in the future.”
Fiona lost both her parents to the cruel disease as well her grandparents and uncle.
She added: “It’s something I might have thought I’d get at 80. But I was still only 61 years old. I felt more angry than anything else because this disease has already impacted my life in so many ways.”
The former ITV journalist is now taking part in a University College Hospital clinical trial for the drug Miridesap, which could slow the progress of the disease.
However, half of the participants of the trial will take a placebo so she may be in that 50% that won’t get to see if the drug has any benefits.
Fiona, who is mum to Nat, aged 24, and Mackenzie, 21, continued: “Even if it isn’t helping me, these tests will be helping other people in the future so I just have to keep going.”
She’s chosen to go public with her diagnosis to help break the stigma around it and raise awareness, as she said: “There is still an issue with this disease that the public thinks of old people, bending over a stick, talking to themselves”.
“I’m still here, getting out and about, meeting friends for coffee, going for dinner with Martin and walking every day.”
ITV presenter, Lorraine Kelly responded to Fiona’s diagnosis being made public, writing on Twitter: “As expected our much loved Fiona is dealing with this shattering diagnosis with courage and optimism.
“She’s a good kind soul and I pray the treatment works and results in a massive breakthrough for everyone dealing with this hellish disease. Sending her and her family all my love.”
People seeking help with dementia can visit alzheimers.org.uk or contact the support line on 0333 150 3456.
Tributes pour in after body of ‘lovely’ missing man found by police
People have been posting their tributes to Charlie online
Heartfelt tributes have been flooding in across social media platforms after the body of a 26-year-old man from Stockport was discovered by police.
Charlie Johnson, 26, was last seen at around 11.30pm in the Cheadle Hulme area of Stockport on Thursday, September 21st.
Greater Manchester Police launched an appeal to the public to help find him but sadly, officers confirmed they had discovered a body on Tuesday, September 26th during the search.
His next of kin have been informed and a file was passed on to the coroner.
Detective Inspector Michael Jimenez, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Our thoughts remain with Charlie’s family at this difficult time, and we have specialist officers in place to support them. Thank you to those who shared our appeals.”
Following the tragic news, tributes have been paid online to honour the life of the ‘superb sportsman’ described by those who knew him as ‘a lovely lad’.
AFC Stockport, who Charlie briefly played for last season, posted on Facebook: “It is with sad news that today we say RIP to Charlie Johnson who briefly played for the club last season.
“Charlie netted 9 goals in 7 appearances for our Rangers team. RIP Charlie – Our thoughts are with your family and friends.”
And Bosden Farm FC, based in Stockport, wrote on their Twitter page: “It is with great sadness we report the news on the passing of Charlie he was a huge part of Bosden Farm and was loved by everyone who met him.
“We will miss him so much. We send our condolences to his friends and family and ask that you respect their privacy at this moment in time.”
Upon hearing the sad news, Mary Brooks-Davies wrote: “Heartbroken. Charlie was such a lovely lad, remember him well when he was at primary school with my daughter. Love and gentlest hugs to his family xxxx.”
In a tribute to Charlie, Badhrul Islam wrote: “Taught him as a lad. Can genuinely say none of my colleagues had a bad word to say.
“PE teachers remember him being a superb sportsman with a great attitude. Really well liked all round. Worked with his dad who was a thoroughly nice man. This is desperately sad news.”
Rachel Taylor wrote: “Thinking of all your family and friends at this sad time, RIP Charlie xx.”
And Callum Lawson wrote: “R.I.P Charlie.”
Three Wilko stores in Greater Manchester reopening as Poundland this weekend
Three out of the 10 stores set to reopen this weekend are in Greater Manchester
This weekend, three former Wilko stores will reopen as Poundlands in Greater Manchester.
Following the collapse of Wilko last month, 10 stores are set to reopen as Poundland outlets this weekend, after being bought out by the budget retailer.
Poundland owner Pepco agreed to purchase 71 Wilko stores from administrators PwC earlier this month.
The company plans to rebrand and open them under its own by the end of the year.
Another rival retailer, B&M, bought 51 Wilko stores in a deal of around £5 million, and plans to also reopen them under its own brand.
In Greater Manchester, the three Wilko locations which will be reopening as new Poundland sites are at The Mall on Church Street in Eccles, The Peel Centre, on Great Portwood Street in Stockport, and on Lord Street, in Leigh.
The seven other sites set to reopen this weekend are across Stafford, Nelson, Barking, Southport, Maidenhead, Jarrow and Scunthorpe.
Family-owned company Wilko ran 400 shops and employed around 12,500 staff when it brought in administrators PwC last month. The company, which was founded in 1930, folded under the pressure of cuts in consumer spending, due to the cost-of-living crisis, and debts owed to suppliers.
All Wilko stores will close resulting in thousands of staff redundancies, as its remaining shops shut on October 8th.
Poundland has encouraged Wilko staff to apply for new job roles with its chain and have assured them they will be made a priority.
Lee Rigby’s son raises five times his target for children’s bereavement charity
You can help supercharge Jack’s efforts
The determined 13-year-old son of Lee Rigby has managed to raise over £50,000 for charity in memory of his father.
Jack Rigby started off with the hope of raising £10,000, as last May was the 10th anniversary of his dad’s tragic murder, but he managed to smash that target and raise more than £50,000.
The young lad completed a marathon walk for Scotty’s Little Soldiers – a charity that supports children bereaved of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.
The charity has been by Jack’s side supporting him as he has been forced to grow up without his dad.
All funds raised by Jack will go to the vital charity but now, the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards, in partnership with TSB, want to help him double his total money raised to £100,000 – and they are asking for the help of the public to do so.
A secret GoFundMe page has been set up to surprise the teenager with a boost to the £54k he has already raised.
Jack’s mum Rebecca told the Mirror: “Jack was so excited to see the amount grow and seeing how much each donation made him smile meant the world to me.
“He and I read all the messages of support and were thankful for them all. We honestly couldn’t believe how kind and generous people were being.
“We never dreamt that the fundraiser would do as well as it did and we are thankful to each and every person who donated and sent messages.”
Lee Rigby, originally from Crumpsall, North Manchester, was killed by Islamic extremist terrorists outside Woolwich barracks on May 22nd, 2013. He was 25 years old.
His son, Jack, was just two when his dad’s life was taken.
The schoolboy from Halifax, West Yorkshire, said: “I feel proud doing the May Marathon in honour of my dad. It also helps distract me from everything. Going on a long walk is a nice break and reminds me it’s not all bad.”
Rebecca added: “Jack wanted to do something positive in memory of his dad. He wants to show how even though he’s grown up without Lee, he’s not forgotten his dad.”
The charity has meant so much to Jack over the years that he has even named his dog ‘Scotty’ after it.
If you’d like to help Jack in raising money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers charity, you can make a donation to the GoFundMe page by clicking HERE.