Alzheimer's charity praise Sir Bobby Charlton's family in call for action for dementia cure

  • Video of Alzhiemer's Research UK who have praised Sir Bobby Charlton's family

Sir Bobby Charlton's death is a call for action for more investment to find a cure for dementia, Alzheimer's Research UK has said.

The Manchester United and England hero - a pillar of the Three Lions' 1966 World Cup winning team - was diagnosed with dementia, which he made public in November 2020.

There have been many tributes to Sir Bobby since his death was announced by his family.

Charities praised Sir Bobby and his family for being open about his diagnosis and helping to break the stigma of dementia.

Almost a million people in the UK are living with dementia and it is the leading cause of death.

Sir Bobby Charlton considered a national hero as tributes flood in from around the world Credit: PA

Alzheimer's Research UK chief executive Hilary Evans said: "Our thoughts are with Sir Bobby Charlton's family, and all those who loved him, following the tragic news that he has died with dementia.

"Sir Bobby was a hero and so many of us have great memories from his impressive career on the pitch.

"He will be greatly missed and we send his family our sympathies.

"It's absolutely devastating that Sir Bobby's final years were blighted by dementia, but unfortunately this is the case for almost one million people in the UK today.

"At Alzheimer's Research UK, we are determined to change the ending for everyone affected by dementia by finding a cure, and the awful news about Sir Bobby highlights that we don't have a moment to waste."

Both Charlton brothers Jack and Bobby developed dementia Credit: PA

Alzheimer's Society chief executive Kate Lee also offered condolences to Charlton's family "during this devastating time".

She added: "Bobby has been inspiring for so many, not just from his achievements on the pitch, but also through his openness about his dementia diagnosis, shining such an important light on the UK's biggest killer.

"We know through our Sport United Against Dementia partnership just how many people will hold precious memories of the 1966 World Cup team, and everything they achieved."

The late Nobby Stiles with his team mate Sir Bobby Charlton, whose death has been announced Credit: PA

Sir Bobby's former teammate at England and Manchester United, Nobby Stiles died from dementia in 2020.

He is one of an increasing number of former players to have died from dementia or developed the disease. Since his father's death John Stiles has been campaigning for greater awareness to educate footballers about the risk of dementia.

As a former player himself John wants to see greater protection in the game, but he has been frustrated by the lack of progress.

  • Video Nobby Stiles son John calling for football reforms to prevent dementia

In 2019 a landmark study of seven and a half thousand former professional footballers found that they were up to five times more likely to develop dementia.

In an effort to try and tackle the problem, clubs have been given guidance recommending that they limit the number of headers in training from corners, goal kicks and free kicks to ten per week.

"Is it absolutely necessary to head a football in the game or could the game even at some level maybe amateur, youth level where we say that heading is just not worth the risk."

Nobby Stiles died of dementia in 2020 Credit: PA

Nobby's son also wants financial support for former footballers to help pay for their dementia care costs.

"It's clear that the tragedy of dad's death is part of a much wider tragedy for those in the football industry and our wider society.

"These men, national heroes, received virtually no support from the industry when they were at their most vulnerable. That has to change."

Samantha Bentham-Hermetz from Alzhiemer's Research UK said

"We know there is an issue and we've called for the professional bodies to identify the appropriate action to safeguard their players, and to protect brain health".

"It is terribly sad that Sir Bobby's final years were blighted by dementia, he's not alone, there are almost a million people with dementia in the UK right now, and it is so important that we redouble our investment in dementia research."

Want more on the issues affecting the North? Our podcast, From the North answers the questions that matter to our region.