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Touching will legacy in memory of sister who was struck down by Alzheimer’s
A former Bradford midwife has left £60,000 in her will to the charity Alzheimer’s Research, in memory of her late sister, who suffered from the disease.
The dementia research charity received the gift from Rosa Priestley, who lived in Bradford all her life. She died last February aged 98 and left the money in memory of her sister Winifred, who died with Alzheimer’s in the late 1980s.
Rosa was the youngest of the two sisters and cared for Winifred for about ten years when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her 70s. They were always close and both worked as midwives. Winifred was based at St Luke’s Hospital in Bradford and Rosa was a community midwife.
Joan McOnegal, 86, of Bradford, remembers working with Rosa and Winifred as a midwife, and said: “Rosa was a lovely lady and a perfectionist in everything she did.
She didn’t train as a midwife until she reached her 40s, which was a quite bold move at that time. Both she and Winifred were dedicated and hard working.”
Rosa’s neighbour, Ken Tordoff, 85, added: “Rosa lived just a few doors along from me and used to tell me how difficult it was looking after Winifred once Alzheimer’s took hold.
“She kept in good health herself and lived independently well into her 90s and was noted for driving around in her Mini. For the last two years of her life she moved to The Beeches care home in Bradford and I used to visit her regularly. She died peacefully, just of old age.
“Even though Rosa is no longer with us, it’s wonderful to know that her generosity and compassion will still make a difference.”
Dr Marie Janson, director of development for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We are hugely grateful to Rosa for remembering Alzheimer’s Research UK in her will. Her generous gift of £60,000 will pay for two entire pilot research projects and vital equipment for our scientists, bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
“There are 820,000 people across the UK living with dementia today, including more than 5,000 people in Bradford alone. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future but funding for research still lags significantly behind other serious diseases.
“We rely entirely on donations and gifts in wills form nearly a third of our income to fund our world-class research. However big or small, these gifts allow ordinary people to make an extraordinary impact on our crucial dementia research.”