A Templepatrick man has been recognised at the Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly Awards.
Mark Bingham, the man behind the annual musical concert Rock for Alzheimer’s at Belfast Empire, took the award for Individual Fundraiser of the Year at the Awards held recently at the Europa Hotel.
The award recognises the achievements of fundraisers who have shown creativity, dedication to the cause and inspired others to unite against dementia whilst raising money for Alzheimer’s Society.
The annual fundraising rock event at the Belfast Empire, now in its fifth year, is a collaborative effort between the three rock bands that put on the show - bands who have collectively over the past five years raised over £26,000.
Mark Bingham lost both of his parents to Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2013, he signed up for the Kilimanjaro trek in support of the Alzheimer’s society. As part of the fundraising effort Mark conceived the idea of a rock concert at a venue his band (Arms of Venus De Milo) played regularly.
Mark said: “It’s quite a humbling, but nonetheless uplifting experience to play to the Rock for Alzheimer’s crowd, it’s a time for everyone to both reflect and let off some steam, while raising valuable funds to support the charity’s valuable work.”
On winning his award as individual fundraiser of the year, Mark said: “It’s an honour and quite humbling when you hear some of the other contributions other finalists have put in. It’s important to highlight Rock for Alzheimer’s is a real team effort. We have volunteers from Alzheimer’s Society itself, the three bands and the loyal fans who come and support it every year. And of course, not forgetting the Empire who provides the venue for us.”
Bernadine McCrory, Country Director (Northern Ireland) for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is amazing that Mark has won the individual fundraiser of the year award and it is a testament to their tremendous dementia friendly work. The level of nominations received this year was truly phenomenal and there were some exceptional stories heard at the awards ceremony. All the finalists and winners at the Dementia Friendly Awards have demonstrated how we can unite against dementia and support those affected by the condition.”
This year there were 12 awards across 10 categories, with awards for Dementia Friendly Organisation, Community, Partnership, Dementia Friends Champion, Innovation, Young person’s contribution and Inspiring Individual, as well as brand new categories to celebrate individual and group fundraiser of the year, and journalist of the year.