IT’S GREAT to see that a group of former Bradford City players, led by current manager Stuart McCall, will be joining the Memory Walk to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society next month.

Several past Bantams stars, including Paul Jewell, Ian Ormondroyd, John Hendrie, Peter Litchfield, Billy Legg and Peter Jackson are among those signed up for the 5k walk on Sunday, September 10, at Lister Park.

The walk is being organised by Christine Gilliver, the wife and carer of former City player Alan – or “Gilly” to all who know him – who has vascular dementia and degenerative Alzheimer’s Disease.

Stuart McCall’s father has dementia and City’s CEO, James Mason, who will also join the walk, has close family members affected by the condition.

I watched the middle of my three sisters waste away to a premature death at just 62 with this horribly pernicious condition.

Once thought of as a disease of old age, it is remarkable nowadays just how many people have been touched by dementia-related tragedy. And all of them will share the same anger and frustration at their inability to help their loved ones as they watch them fade.

Christine Gilliver put it very eloquently: “It is such a cruel disease; it robs you of your future. You become a carer for the person you love, even if they no longer realise it. You live with a sense of grief daily but you’re grieving for a person who is still there. So much more needs to be done to try and find a cure.”

The Alzheimer’s Society says there are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. It mainly affects people over the age of 65 and the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age. However, there are more than 42,000 people in the UK under 65 with dementia.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics last year showed that, for the first time, dementia was the leading cause of death for England and Wales. Of the 529,655 deaths registered during 2015, dementia accounted for 61,686 (11.6 per cent).

And a recent study analysing mortality rates suggested that the number of people who die from dementia will quadruple over the next 20-30 years.

Christine believes her husband's condition is due to him heading footballs during his 16-year playing career.

It is a belief echoed by Dawn Astle, the daughter of former West Brom and England striker, Jeff, who died of a degenerative brain condition in 2002, aged 59, with a coroner describing his illness as an “industrial disease”, following years of headers on the pitch.

Ms Astle called for a small percentage of the wages of Premier League footballers to go towards funding dementia care for former players.

She said: “Our dream was to have a series of care homes to provide respite or long-term care. A one per cent levy on the wages of Premier League players would raise millions to do that.

“Surely today’s players, who have so much money, wouldn’t begrudge that, so those who laid the ­foundations for ­everything they have can be looked after.”

It’s a laudable aim and no-one would begrudge those former players the care they need but why restrict it to former players?

Assuming that the intention was already to cater for those from the lower leagues as well as the top flight, what about all those non-league players who suffer dementia?

And all those fans who paid substantial sums of money to watch their highly-paid heroes across the years?

Christine Gilliver has also called for the Football Association to support former players suffering from dementia but there is no suggestion that those taking part in the Memory Walk, or others like it across the country, should be raising money for anything other than the greater good.

Dementia is a cruel disease and the greatest of levellers: it doesn’t care who it affects and our priority must surely be to find a cure for everyone’s benefit.

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IT HAS taken a long time to get there but calls by the Local Government Association to modernise the laws surrounding taxis and private hire vehicles are very welcome.

Some of them date back to 1847. The fact that, in these days of Uber and mobile phone apps, the statute books still call vehicles licensed to ply for hire “Hackney Carriages” speaks for itself.

The current system is rife with abuse and extremely difficult and costly to manage and control. Let’s hope the Government takes the initiative to improve passenger safety soon.

These online ‘trolls’ are aiming their bile at the wrong targets

THERE were some ridiculous comments, along the lines of “well, what do you expect”, made online following the report that a young pregnant woman’s car was broken into while she attended an appointment at BRI last week.

The suggestion was that it was her own fault for parking there and not realising her car was likely to be attacked and her property stolen.

Naturally enough, the NHS Trust says it does monitor and patrol car parks and works with police to tackle any incidents but it can’t monitor all its 200 CCTV cameras across all its hospital sites all the time.

That, however, does not justify the abuse aimed at the defenceless young victim. Surely the vitriol and bile would have been better directed at the disgusting, callous, opportunist criminals who caused all the distress, damage and inconvenience in the first place?