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Thatcham boy completes Alzheimer’s Society origami challenge

9-year-old inspired by grandfather, Japanese legend and Captain Sir Tom Moore

A THATCHAM boy has raised more than £1,000 as part of his wish to get rid of dementia.

Joseph Black pledged in February to make 1,000 origami cranes to help people with dementia, after being inspired by a Japanese legend.

Pupils at his primary school were asked to think about an activity they could do 100 times for a cause close to their hearts, following Captain Sir Tom Moore completing 100 laps of his garden for the NHS.

Joseph decided to press on to 1,000 origami birds, inspired by the senbazuru from Japanese mythology.

The crane is one of the holy creatures, said to live for 1,000 years, and legend says that the gods grant a wish to a person who creates 1,000 origami cranes.

Joseph, aged nine, said he he would use his wish to get rid of dementia as his grandfather has the condition.

And he didn’t fold on his task, completing the origami challenge in 40 days to raise £1,115 for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Jospeh’s mother Fiona said he was “excited, ecstatic and very proud of himself” to have finished the folding.

When selecting Alzheimer’s Society, Joseph said: “I’d like to support the Alzheimer’s Society because my grandad has dementia and I like the idea of him remembering stuff, because my nan finds it hard to look after him.”

Mrs Black said the family were incredibly proud, especially his grandparents, of his great achievement.

She said: “It pulls my heart strings quite a lot. When I read why he was doing it, he nearly made me cry.

“We’re all very proud.”

The money Joseph raised could help support more than 100 people through Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect journeys.

Dementia advisers make first contact with people with dementia, their carers and families, and it is the initial step in learning how to support them.

Alzheimer’s Society community fundraiser Robyn Carlson said: “We are so grateful for Joseph’s fantastic fundraising support with this unique and creative challenge.

“People affected by dementia need us now more than ever, but the pandemic has hit us hard financially, despite an unprecedented demand for our services.

“We are so impressed with Joseph’s time, commitment and dedication to completing his 1,000 cranes.

“His fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society ensures that we are able to support those who need it most during this difficult period.”

The story attracted the attention of Newbury MP Laura Farris, who said she was “grateful and impressed” that at the age of nine, Joseph had been able to raise so much money for the charity.

She said: “It is clear to me that you have a passion for origami, and I am sure you are eager to reach your 1,000 cranes target and get to make your special wish.

“Well done on doing a spectacular job, I am sure your friends and family are very proud. I feel very lucky to represent a young boy with such a big heart.”

Donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/josephsorigamicranes

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