It’s that time again – ‘tis the season when charities look back over the year that has passed and ahead to the new.

When it comes to dementia research, each year can seem much like the last one. But it’s not. We are 30 years closer to our goal, though there remains much to do.

The reality is that we’re engaged in a long campaign and it needs perseverance and resolve. Our work isn’t the stuff of 24/7 news media, much as journalists like to shout “breakthrough” or print alarming headlines about statistics. Scientific progress is incremental, but real. Fundraising is unrelenting but it is changing the world through what it supports.

So, thank you. Thank you if you helped us this year in any way whatsoever. Perhaps you sent us a cheque or logged onto our lovely new website and made an online donation. Perhaps you gave your time in the office, at an event or at a collection in a supermarket. Perhaps you ran a marathon or did something less alarmingly athletic to raise money. One person kept silent at work all day! Perhaps you followed us on Twitter or Facebook and encouraged others to do so. Perhaps you wrote your will and generously included BRACE. Whatever it was, thank you again for making a difference.

We managed to raise more money than in 2015 and we are finishing the year strongly. However, as scientists seek to build on the progress achieved by others, the applications have poured in, with budgeted costs thrice what we raised in the first three quarters of the year. We don’t want to turn down good research proposals for lack of funds, so we are straining every sinew to increase our funds in 2017.

It happens to be our 30th anniversary year, and you will be hearing lots about this from January onwards. While we want to celebrate the achievements of scientists that we have funded, and salute the contribution made by countless supporters, we don’t want to celebrate our longevity. We would much rather see dementia defeated and BRACE made redundant, but I fear it will be a long time before dementia in all its many forms is truly mastered. Or, as Norman McNamara of Purple Angel put it at our conference last year, when dementia is merely a memory.

So, we’ll push on in 2017. We’ll need your help, and we’ll let you know through our website and our mailings where research is making promising headway.

No one photo can sum up our year, so I’ll use one of our favourite photos of the year at the top of this blog and add a few more below for you to enjoy. See how many you can place.

Researchers at UWE

Jamie Anderson

Caroline Binda cropped

Conference 2016