Mayor presented with certificate just weeks after launching awareness campaign in the town

South Molton has been officially recognised as a 'dementia friendly' town - within weeks of a local scheme being launched by the mayor.

Councillor Steve Lock said more than 160 businesses in the town have signed up to the Purple Angel scheme, which is designed to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with dementia.

Last month, Mr Lock, whose own sister Rene Higgins lived with dementia until her recent death, urged shopkeepers in the town to pledge their support.

This week, South Molton was awarded 'Dementia Friendly' status by Purple Angel founder Norman McNamara, from Torbay. McNamara lives with dementia and set up the scheme in 2012 after being rudely spoken to by a shopkeeper.

Purple Angel Ambassador certificates were also presented to Mr Lock, town clerk Andrew Coates and South Molton Town Council staff members Jacqui Eaton and Debbie Carder.

The awards were presented during dementia awareness talks given talks by Mr McNamara and Lyn Winters, a dementia friend and fellow Purple Angel Ambassador.

Mr Lock, who is thought to be the first mayor to be made an ambassador, said: "Mr McNamara was proud to say that South Molton was the hub for the programme.

"More than 160 businesses in South Molton have signed up to the Purple Angel programme, including South Molton Country Pannier Market, and there are more businesses eager to sign up.

"The Global Purple Angel Dementia Awareness Programme started in Torbay and now operates in 58 countries across the world," he added.

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