Leading Commercial Vehicle manufacturer MAN Truck & Bus takes to the road today as they start their 12 day tour of the country delivering Christmas cheer thanking the army of carers and volunteers who selflessly support those living with dementia.

Working with Alzheimer’s Society and partnered by Tesco, Willsmer Wagg and C3 Marketing, the MAN Charity Tree Tour started in Swindon and will crisscross the country visiting Alzheimer’s Society Memory Cafes and Singing for the Brain groups dropping off boxes of Christmas goodies.

Wrapped with a bow and looking like a typical Christmas present, the Charity Tree Tour boxes share the same wrapping paper design as the MAN TGE’s livery and contain a selection of MAN-branded biscuits (donated by Willsmer Wagg) Mince pies (donated by Tesco) and chocolate Celebrations (donated by MAN).

Stefan Thyssen, Managing Director, MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd, said: “We originally started working with Alzheimer’s Society as our chosen charity in April 2023 and throughout the year with the support and efforts of MAN Truck & Bus employees we’ve held several fundraising events in support of this incredible and much-admired charity.

“We all know that Christmas is a time of giving, showing appreciation and spending quality time with loved ones and friends. But as we take a moment to think about the wellbeing of others, our nationwide Charity Tree Tour will deliver a small token of thanks to the many carers and volunteers who tirelessly provide support and care to those facing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.”

“Thousands of carers and volunteers give their time willingly, without question and with a loving smile. They play a fundamental role in providing vital support, helping reduce isolation felt by people living with dementia and increase the wellbeing of those affected, treating them with courtesy, dignity, appreciation and compassion,” concluded Stefan.

Founded in 1979 by a group of concerned individuals who recognised the need for an organisation that could unite caregivers, provide support to those facing Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and help advance research into the disease, Alzheimer’s Society has the UK’s largest collective force of people with unparalleled knowledge and experience addressing the biggest challenges facing people living with dementia.

For many of the hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia, Christmas is often the most difficult time of the year. While most of us will be enjoying the lights, noise and hubbub, many people living with dementia will be feeling overwhelmed and confused. Family gatherings can be deeply distressing when people with dementia don’t recognise their relatives or remember their names.

There are currently around 900,000 people in the UK living with dementia. It mainly affects people over the age of 65.

Departing from MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd’s Headquarters in Swindon on the 4th of December the MAN Charity Tree Tour’s first point of call is to the South Ribble district of Preston, where it will deliver cheer to an Alzheimer’s Society Singing for the Brain group. From there the recognisable TGE will head out towards one of the charity’s Dementia Cafés in Sleaford before turning towards Stoke on Trent and Birmingham, after this it visits Swindon and Bristol before heading down to Exeter and Plymouth, finishing back at Swindon on the 15th of December.

1 in 3 people born in the UK today will develop dementia in their lifetime.

Amy Tattersall, Community Fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society, commented, “The support we’ve received from MAN Truck & Bus UK is fantastic and is making a life-changing difference to people living with dementia.

“Christmas should be one of the happiest times of the year, but sadly for hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia, the festive period can be a really challenging time. I’m sure that the generous gifts being distributed to people throughout this Charity Tree Tour will bring a smile to people’s faces. Thank you to all those involved.

”If anyone finds themselves in need of support they can contact Alzheimer’s Society’s Support Line on 0333 150 3456.”

It is not always clear why some people get dementia while others don’t. Dementia is more common among women than men.

Debbie Willsmer, Managing Director at Willsmer Wagg, said, “We were delighted when MAN Truck & Bus approached us asking if we would like to be part of this noble charity tour, and as a highly motivated team we couldn’t wait to get started. Dementia can be devastating for everyone involved, the person diagnosed and their entire family. One of our specialties is producing gift boxes for all types of events and occasions, so once carefully packed with biscuits, mince pies and chocolate celebrations and wrapped with a bow, we’ll help load the boxes onto the van and wave it on its way, with all the love and care a carer shows a loved one living with dementia.”

Calls to the Alzheimer’s Society support line are expected to rise by 60% after Christmas.

Alison Wraight, Director at C3 Marketing, Swindon, added, “Christmas is a time of giving, showing care and pausing to show support for each other. When MAN Truck & Bus UK mentioned the idea of designing a livery, applying it to a TGE van and us having an involvement in their Charity Tree Tour, we instantly jumped at the opportunity. Dementia is devastating for all involved and when you look at how the thousands of carers give their support, especially at this time of year, it’s humbling. We’re delighted to be involved.”

Alzheimer’s Society is working towards a world where dementia no longer devastates lives.

MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd’s Driver Training expert Luke Osbourne, responsible for driving the TGE over the 12 days, commented, “When asked I simply jumped at the opportunity to be involved with this tremendous cause, quite simply, who wouldn’t!

“Over the 12 days we’ll coverer somewhere in the region of 1400 miles, deliver 23 goodie boxes and hopefully received more smiles than we can count. Carers are special people who often juggle their day to day responsibilities around looking after the needs of others, more often than not putting themselves and their personal needs second. At this time of year they deserve an arm around their shoulder and a huge thank you. I hope the MAN Charity Tree Tour will deliver a show of much earned appreciation.”

Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer.

Alzheimer’s Society vows to help end the devastation caused by dementia. For support or to donate to the charity‘s ’12 Days of Christmas’ appeal visit alzheimers.org.uk/Christmas

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