Seeing family members hit by dementia sparked fundraising drive

Charlie Bain and his wife Carol provide vital equipment. Picture: contributed
Charlie Bain and his wife Carol provide vital equipment. Picture: contributed
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IT was seeing both his own father and his father-in-law suffer with dementia that led Aberdeen businessman Charlie Bain to help put the city at the forefront of dementia research.

He has helped to raise £150,000 for the best, most up-to-date equipment for research into the disease at Aberdeen University in the hope that his own sons won’t have to see him suffer in the same way.

Mr Bain and his wife, Carol, lost their fathers, Charles and Roy, to the disease within three weeks in 2011.

Mr Bain, director of communications firm CEURO Communication, first started raising funds for a minibus for his father’s care home but following his death, embarked on a string of large-scale fundraising nights, each getting a little more flamboyant.

Entertainers including the late magician Paul Daniels, the stars of Strictly Come Dancing and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, winner of America’s Got Talent, were all called upon to help pull in the pounds. Each night raised around £50,000 thanks to the support of the North East business community.

Mr Bain met Professor Matteo Zanda, chair in medical technologies and Director of the J Mallard Scottish Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Centre at the University of Aberdeen, following the death of his father. He said: “I said to Professor Zanda, I am going to give you the best kit that puts you at the forefront of research into this disease.

“Where cancer research was 25 years ago is where dementia research is now.

“I thought if we could give dementia everything that technnology could offer, then in ten years time we could start making a real difference. We are ony four years into the journey and I firmly believe that, right now, we are starting to make a difference. I am very proud and humbled of what we have achieved and also of people’s understanding of where we are coming from.

“Dementia will be affecting us in a big way and it will affect more of us than cancer as we get older.”

Money from the fundraising nights has helped to buy two major pieces of equipment, a mass spectrometer and HPLC, that help to identify tiny chemical changes in the brain. A third piece – a peptide synthesiser – was donated this week by oil and gas exploration Apache oil and gas exploration outreach programme, a sponsor of Mr Bain’s, following a £45,000 gift.

Mr Bain said: “I was driven on by seeing how terrible it was for my father and how it affected me. I would not want my sons to go through what I went through.”