Racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart yesterday voiced renewed determination to help the worldwide battle against dementia.
He has worked tirelessly to raise funds and awareness since his wife Helen was diagnosed with the cruel condition.
Yesterday, he attended the Sir Jackie Stewart Classic at Thirlestane Castle in the Scottish Borders celebrating his life and glittering track career.
The event is in aid of Race Against Dementia, a charity which Stewart set up to raise funds for dementia research after Helen, 81, was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and now needs round-the-clock care. Stewart, 83, said finding a cure for the disease would be his biggest achievement.
Born in Dunbartonshire, he is a three-time Formula One champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973. He said: “It’s a big event because we are having something like 20 of my racing cars, my F1 cars, my sportscars, my GT cars, touring cars. The reason for doing it is to raise funds to get more young talent and do a better job than has been there for some years.”
Joined by Helen as well other Scots superstar drivers Dario Franchitti and Alan McNish in the Borders, he said a cure for dementia remains his ambition: “For sure this would be the biggest thing I’ve ever done. The progress we’ve made so far, I am more than pleased about, but we’ve got to get a cure.”
There are an estimated 90,000 people with dementia in Scotland, according to the government. But by 2031 it is projected that there will be approximately 102,000 to 114,000 people living with the condition, according to Alzheimer Scotland.
This weekend’s events included a motor race featuring a championship-winning Red Bull F1 car, and Stewart appearing in his iconic 1969 Matra, which took him to his first Formula One title.
Speaking of his wife’s diagnosis, he said: “When I was told Helen had dementia and there was no cure, I thought, ‘This is ridiculous, especially when you look at the number of people in the world who have it’.
“For every person born in the world today, one in three will develop dementia.”
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