1. RIP Tony Husband Pippa Kelly 33:59

This episode is dedicated to Tony Husband, who appeared on my show not once, but twice – which, in itself, is testament to the man’s generosity of spirit and dedication to raising awareness of dementia.  

After Tony and I had recorded our first podcast, I said that, for me, Tony was all about creativity, humour and love, and I’d stand by that.  

“Life,” Tony once said, “is about laughing”. For the prolific cartoonist, that was absolutely true. He used his dark humour to investigate life’s paradoxes and frustrations, making the complex business of living seem simple. Through a few carefully chosen lines, Tony summoned up the most profound human experiences, including what it means to live with dementia.  

And, when his own dad succumbed to vascular dementia in 2011, he brought his considerable skills to bear on this most cruel of diseases. One night, after his dad’s death, Tony began to talk to him in his studio as if he were still there, asking Ron what it had been like to live with the condition. He recorded the conversation in cartoons on A4 paper which were later turned into his book, Take Care Son – the last words his dad ever spoke to him.  

Tony’s was a phenomenal talent and he used it to its full and to the very end. He died on his way to a leaving lunch at Private Eye, the satirical magazine for which he drew his famous Yobs strip for 37 years. I think Tony would have enjoyed the irony in this and definitely made a cartoon out of it. 

With me to talk about Tony, his kindness, compassion, wisdom and wit, is dementia campaigner and founder of Exeter’s Dementia Action Alliance, Gina Awad. Gina knew Tony far better than I did; she collaborated with him for many years on different dementia projects including the Shining a Light on Dementia calendars and the book, United: Caring for Our Loved Ones Living with Dementia. 

Tony’s friend, the poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan has also contributed, as has Tony’s son Paul, and I will leave the last word to Paul: “My dad made people who are struggling start smiling again, and I’m proud of him”.

Tony and Gina’s book, United: Caring for Our Loved Ones Living with Dementia is available on Amazon. 

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Pippa Kelly Podcaster & Dementia Campaigner

Pippa Kelly is an award-winning dementia campaigner based in London. Host of the popular Well I Know Now dementia podcast, her articles have frequently appeared in the UK’s national press and she has her own website http://pippakelly.co.uk/. She also speaks publicly on old age, dementia and the power of stories to influence change. Her debut novel Invisible Ink, published by Austin Macauley, contains a small dementia thread based on her late mother who lived with the condition for over a decade, and is available from Amazon.