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Dyeing to go purple

13 December 2013

HER hair is usually blonde, but this Advent she has dyed it liturgical purple, with a pink flash to acknowledge Gaudete Sunday. The Vicar of Holy Nativity, Newcastle, the Revd Juliet Stephenson, will be matching her hair to her vestments throughout Advent, but is also doing it to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease.

The church runs a special café for carers and their relatives who suffer from dementia - a safe space, she says, where they can relax and meet friends without worrying how their loved ones behave. The idea for the café came from a member of the congregation, Carole, whose husband, Dave, died after suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's, and whose mother and mother-in-law both had it.

As her husband's conditioned worsened, Carole longed for somewhere where she and Dave could simply go out and relax with a coffee or beer, and meet people who would understand. "The café is the ideal place," Ms Stephenson says. "I'm raising awareness and money for the café and its users, so that, in the summer, they can have a day out at the Beamish Outdoor Museum . . . a sing-song from the good old days at the theatre, and maybe some extra sessions with the hairdresser and manicurist."

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