Obituary: Jim Jackson, former chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, 63

Tributes have been paid to Jim Jackson, a community worker and former chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, who has died, aged 63.

Mr Jackson was chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland from 1993 to 2008, and helped influence some significant developments in national policy regarding the treatment of dementia.

He was born in Bradford in 1947, one of two sons. His father died when he was 17.

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From an early age, he developed a wide range of interests, including music and hillwalking. Later, during his time at the West Ham College of Technology he became involved with Labour politics and human rights campaigning, revealing his lifelong focus on justice for those in need.

Mr Jackson worked in a variety of community posts across England in the 1970s, and it was during this time that he met his future wife, Jennie. Throughout their 40 years of marriage, she provided a steadying influence on his enthusiastic character

In 1984, a new opportunity presented itself and Mr Jackson was appointed director of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. He adapted quickly to the Edinburgh scene, and his reliability was widely appreciated.

But it was his appointment as the first chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland that saw him come into his own.

During his 15 years with the charity, he oversaw an expansion in both finances and in the delivery of services to those in need.

Mr Jackson encouraged diverse and innovative developments, such as allowances for younger people suffering from dementia, and improved services for those from ethnic minorities.

He was also a founding member of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland, and a member of its board until 2008.

Mr Jackson was especially proud of his engagement with the government on Alzheimer issues. He laid the groundwork for the current dementia strategy in Scotland.

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The professionalism and focus which he showed in his role as a chief executive was recognised with the award of an OBE in 2000.

His role heading up the charity did not stop him from pursuing other interests; indeed, he often used visits to Alzheimer Scotland services as an opportunity for a quick ramble in the hills.

Although he retired in 2008, Mr Jackson continued to be involved in the world of Alzheimer treatment. He continued to help Alzheimer associations across the globe, co-authoring the influential World Alzheimer Report in 2009.

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland's chief executive, said: "He will be very much missed by all of us at Alzheimer Scotland and by the many other people who were privileged to work with him. Our deepest sympathies go to his wife, Jennie, and to the rest of his family."

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