Former U2 and Kylie global merchandising operator embarks on a special tour to spread the word about dementia

Tommy Whitelaw (front) with staff from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after his talk about dealing wit

Tommy Whitelaw (front) with staff from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after his talk about dealing with dementia, which was part of his Tommy on Tour programme. At the front with Tommy is Lead Nurse for older people Alison Webb. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

For years, he toured the globe with some of the biggest names in pop. Now he tours hospitals, spreading awareness about dementia.

Tommy Whitelaw talked to staff from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital about dealing with dementia, which

Tommy Whitelaw talked to staff from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital about dealing with dementia, which was part of his Tommy on Tour programme. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Tommy Whitelaw ran the global merchandising operations for U2, the Spice Girls and Kylie until 2007, when his mum, Joan, was diagnosed with vascular dementia.

He was her carer for five years, until she died in September, 2012. Now Mr Whitelaw, from Glasgow, works on the Dementia Carers Voices project with the Health and Social Care Alliance.

He hopes his Tommy on Tour campaign will raise awareness amongst health and social care professionals of both dementia and caring. Yesterday, he visited the Queen Elizabeth, Norfolk and Norwich University and James Paget University hospitals. Today, he is due to call at the Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals. 'My motivation came from the love I had for my mum and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat,' he said. 'But my experience has shown me just how tough it is to live with dementia and how many struggles it can bring.'

Mr Whitelaw feels that no one should ever have to face the confusion, loneliness and isolation that many carers often experience.

Have you cared for a loved one with dementia? Email chris.bishop@archant.co.uk


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