Purple Angel Born in England in 2012

The Purple Angel was born on 12th January, 2012. It was formed as a steering group to try and make Torbay, Devon, UK, the first dementia-friendly resort in the country.  Norman McNamara, a resident of Torbay, was diagnosed with dementia at only 50 years of age.  Whilst out shopping one day, he was rudely spoken to by a shopkeeper and decided to change the way people see dementia and treat others.

Norm began by asking his local shop staff to read 2 pieces of information so that they could better support people with dementia and their caregivers. He wrote the "Guide to Understanding Dementia" and put that together with "What is Dementia" written by the Alzheimer's Society in the UK. Two weeks later he returned and, if staff had read, awarded a Purple Angel Logo for their window.

Through Facebook Norm met many who wanted to join in. The purple angel was named because Norm fondly refers to his wife, Elaine, as "his angel"!

Many towns in the UK began raising awareness with The Purple Angel, taking the information to their local shops and businesses. On a Facebook "Dementia Aware" page many others began to form dementia friendly communities and were inspired by the success of the project.

Many Purple Angel Dementia Action Alliances now have their own steering groups, and the word is spreading to other areas.  It became apparent that many other organizations were needed to be included such as hospitals, first responders, rescue services, schools, scouts, etc. and resources were developed to address different situations.  A book was written for young school children by Max Wallack in the USA and is being translated into other languages by purple angel ambassadors and talks held in schools in order that our young can grow up understanding dementia.

New memory cafes were organized and events took place across the world for the new Dementia Awareness Day fundraising for dementia charities all year. To learn more about the Purple Angel Project as it spreads around the world, visit