Sir Jackie Stewart has opened up about his wife Lady Helen's dementia and his fear that her condition has taken a bad turn. The retired racing legend was speaking at an event for his charity, Race Against Dementia, in South Lanarkshire when he said: "Helen had a wonderful day at Silverstone on Friday, but she couldn't remember being there on Saturday. She remembers our past, her long-term memory is still there, but sadly I think that is going to disappear."
Sir Jackie, who counts the Queen as one of his good friends, added: "Cancer and things like that seem to have got more attention but the pain and suffering of people with dementia and how it affects a family is absolutely horrendous."
Sir Jackie launched charity Race Against Dementia in 2018
Paying tribute to his wife, who was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014, Jackie said: "We've been married for 57 years. She's a fantastic woman, did all my timekeeping and everything else, a really bright brain, and suddenly she gets dementia and she has no memory at all, hardly."
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Lady Helen was first diagnosed after she couldn't remember being involved in a car accident in the couple's Chiltern Hills estate. The mother-of-two now has round-the-clock care in Geneva, where she lives in a four-storey house with state-of-the-art technology with her husband Jackie. "I'm lucky that I was a racing driver and I can afford to have nurses and the neuro nurses that I've got looking after Helen," said the Formula One racing driver. "We have seven nurses looking after Helen. Only two at a time but 24 hours a day. Very few people can afford that."
The racing legend and his wife Helen attended Wimbledon last week
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Sir Jackie set up Race Against Dementia in 2018. The charity's research programme aims to draw parallels with the technology used in F1 and research into the disease. At his event on Monday, he called on more support for dementia sufferers and their families. Sir Jackie was joined by fellow racing drivers including Lando Norris and George Russell.
The Queen and Sir Jackie have been friends for years
His charity event comes just one month after Sir Jackie celebrated his eightieth birthday. Her Majesty the Queen was in attendance and was spotted leaving the luncheon at the Royal Automobile Club. The event also doubled as a celebration to mark Sir Jackie's first British GP win 50 years ago.
Jackie and the Queen have been friends for years. He is the godfather to Zara Tindall and earlier this year visited the monarch at her home in Sandringham over her extended Christmas break. He was also spotted attending a church service at St Mary Magdalene with Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence.
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