Tracey Pays Tribute to Maurice Bernard

Friday, 15 January, 2016

Today I, and many other people, will say goodbye to an amazing man – Maurice Bernard – who sadly passed away before Christmas. 
Some followers might know him, some may have heard of him, but if you live in Medway and you have a relative or friend with dementia you can be grateful to him. He was a vociferous campaigner for improved dementia care. He didn’t stop until he got changes. He never took no for an answer and if you were the poor chief executive or senior manager on the other end of the email or phone you learned to say yes sooner than perhaps you might. That is because Maurice wanted us, in Chatham and across Medway, to never have to face some of the challenges he faced when his beloved wife Dora got dementia. 
His work led to the opening of the Bernard Unit at Medway Hospital. It was named in memory of Dora but it is Maurice’s legacy. It is one of the few areas of the Hospital that regularly receives praise and long may that continue. He sat on every dementia group going – whether it was support groups for carers through to action groups to make Medway a dementia friendly community. It was Maurice that got me involved in dementia and he and I talked regularly about national and local policy issues to do with the condition. 
There was more to Maurice than dementia – he loved military matters, having served in the Engineers, and radio communications. He was never slow to tell me what he thought about politics and the last time I saw him we were talking about my pending venture into motherhood. 
He was genuinely an incredible man who has left an amazing legacy. I shall miss him enormously.