Sir Ian Botham opens up about father's 'appalling' dementia suffering

Sir Ian Botham has opened up about his father's experience with dementia. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cricketing legend Sir Ian Botham has revealed the "appalling" deterioration his father went through due to dementia.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Sir Ian said watching father Les suffering with Alzheimer's disease was like watching him "die twice over".

"Unless you've watched a loved one being ravaged by this disease, you can't understand how horrendous it is," he said.

The former England all-rounder did not visit Les during the last six months of his life as he did not want his memory of his father to be "distorted" by the degenerative condition which meant he could no longer recognise his own family.

David Cameron alongside Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the G8 dementia summit in December. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Sir Ian was speaking out as part of Dementia Awareness Week, which began this Monday.

Fighting the disease is a cause Prime Minister David Cameron has also personally backed, with the government supporting a new Dementia Friends initiative to help improve sufferers' quality of life.

Read: 'Over half' of dementia sufferers put off visiting doctor