Frozen food retailer Iceland has raised a cool £3.1m for charity.
The firm headed by Grange Moor-born businessman Malcolm Walker has presented a cheque for £1m to Alzheimer’s Research UK – bringing the total raised by the company’s charitable foundation over a three-year partnership with the charity to £3.1m.
All the money raised is making a major contribution to dementia research, supporting studies into early-onset Alzheimer’s, which can affect people under the age of 65. The research is focusing on improving diagnosis and understanding the risk factors connected with the disease.
Mr Walker, chairman and chief executive of Iceland, kicked off the fundraising in 2011 with an Everest expedition with his son Richard. The following year, he attempted to trek to the South Pole. Then in 2013 he published his autobiography, Best Served Cold: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Malcolm Walker – donating proceeds of the book to Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Iceland’s 25,000 staff – including employees at the firm’s Huddersfield stores at Trinity Street and Aspley – raised money with events including mountain climbs, sponsored cycle rides, marathons and family walks, lorry and coach pulls and parachute jumps.
Mr Walker said: “I am extremely proud of everyone at Iceland for raising an incredible £3.1m. The commitment of our staff, customers and suppliers has been outstanding. They’ve gone to great lengths to support Alzheimer’s Research UK’s vital work. It’s fantastic to know that this amazing total will bring the charity ever nearer to achieving its aim of defeating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“Working with Alzheimer’s Research UK during the three year charity partnership has also given us a great opportunity to raise awareness. With 830 stores on busy high streets nationwide, we’ve reached countless members of the public with the message that dementia research needs more funding.”
“Alzheimer’s disease has had a profound effect on my own family and on those of so many of our colleagues and customers – indeed, it is hard to find anyone who has not been touched in some way by the huge epidemic of dementia that we are currently seeing.
“It’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate and in rare cases it can affect people in their 50s, 40s and even in their 30s. I am delighted that the money we have donated will go directly to research that will give hope to people living with Alzheimer’s disease today and future generations.”
Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the “colossal” sum raised through the foundation was supporting seven world-class research projects, including a large study into early-onset Alzheimer’s led by Prof Nick Fox and Dr Jonathan Schott at University College London.
She said: “There are hundreds of thousands of people across the UK living with the daily reality of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future, but funding still lags far behind other serious diseases. We rely on donations to fund our crucial work and support from businesses like Iceland Foods plays a key part in helping us progress our world-class research.”
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