Bognor Regis woman set to scale heights for dad

John Foulser, 79, suffers from a rare form of dementia
John Foulser, 79, suffers from a rare form of dementia

Ben Nevis is in the sights of a Bognor Regis woman to raise awareness of dementia.

Karen Wheeler has seen her father, a former jewellery shop manager, succumb to the condition which has turned him into a shoplifter.

The rare fronto-temporal lobe dementia from which John Foulser, 79, suffers means the part of his brain that tells him it is wrong to steal chocolate bars is deteriorating.

No cure

Home care assistant Karen, 45, of Gordon Avenue, said: “As yet, there is no cure for this type of dementia, nor is there any way of slowing down its progression.

“The drugs used to treat alzheimer’s could make the condition worse.

“As the Alzheimer’s Society strive so hard to research dementia, I felt it appropriate to raise funds for the longer term good for people in general rather than just for my dad’s immediate care.

“I would also like to raise awareness of this type of dementia as it does present in strange behaviours.

“This is such a sad disease as it is not always obvious that the person is ill.”

Physical

The condition recently led to Karen’s father being manhandled out of a shop from which he had been banned.

“Normally, shopkeepers will just tell him to go and my dad will turn around and walk out of the shop.

“But, on this occasion, the store assistant grabbed my father and physically threw him out.

“My dad fell to the ground and the man walked back inside and left him on the ground in the rain.

“My dad struggled to get up but, fortunately, some kind passers-by helped him up.”

She complained to the shop’s head office, where her father was usually well treated, and was assured an investigation would take place.

But Mr Foulser, who is being well looked after in Ashbury Care Home in Aldwick Road, can still talk to Karen.

She said: “He has still got his memory and I can chat and have conservations with him.

“But I’m not looking forward to his memory going when he will not be able to recognise me, which I know will come.”

Ben Nevis

Karen and her son, Butlin’s worker Jack Murray, 19, of Central Avenue, North Bersted, will be tackling Ben Nevis in the autumn.

They will be part of a Alzheimer’s Society sponsored group getting to the top of Britain’s highest peak at 4,409 feet on September 7.

Karen said: “I looked at the society’s website and this was the most realistic climb that I could do.

“This is the first time I have done an event like this.

“I’m looking forward to it because I wanted to do something different.

“I’m going to join a gym to train on a treadmill set at an incline and I friend is also going to help me do some climbing in the South Downs.”

Bravery

Her father managed Pressleys the jewellers, in Queensway, Bognor Regis for many years.

His expertise saw him repair watches and clocks and make good rings, bracelets and other jewellery.

He was also a good salesman who knew everything about the products from working in the shop when it was Charles Brown.

He stopped burglars a couple of times as they fled from the shop with Rolex watches and other items of expensive jewellery.

He placed his life at risk on one occasion and received a letter from the police in recognition of his bravery.

Donations can be made online by visiting www.justgiving.com/karenwheelerbennevis or sending a free text with the code GQNT82 and amount of the donation to 70070.