Britain's longest-serving newsreader Alastair Stewart announces dementia diagnosis live on air
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Alastair Stewart revealed his diagnosis while talking about his retirement on GB News today (Sunday, 10 September).
He started his career in television in 1976 and has worked with a whole plethora of channels, including ITV, Channel 4 and GMTV, branching into radio too with BBC Radio 5.
On GB News today, Stewart sat down with Camilla Tominey and revealed that he began feeling 'discombobulated' around 'six to nine months' ago, prompting him to get in touch with his GP which led to him being diagnosed with the disease.
In his discussion with Tominey earlier today, Stewart noted he wanted to give a bit more 'clarity' on his decision to retire.
He said: "The reason I wanted it to be here at GB News rather than anywhere else is because GB News have looked after me phenomenally well.
"The headline story - and it is relatively dramatic I suppose - is about six to nine months ago, I began to feel - one of my favourite words - discombobulated. I wasn't becoming forgetful, but things like doing up your shoelaces properly [...] making sure your tie was straight, remembering that the call time for your programme is four o'clock and not five o'clock, not turning up early or late and stuff like that.
"And I then decided at the ripe old age of my late fifties, early sixties, that I might have something wrong up here [taps head].`"
Stewart explains that he told his GP he was 'really worried' he might have dementia - 'early onset dementia' to be specific.
The 71-year-old's said his GP told him he had 'no idea' - noting 'sometimes people of [Stewart's] age, particularly if they've had a really fascinating, active life, try to find excuses because they can't quite cope with old age'.
To find out if there was any cause for concern, Stewart underwent a scan which he reflects on as being like a scene from BBC drama Casualty.
"The results came back and I had indeed had a series of minor strokes that are called infarct strokes [...] and that the cumulative affect of that is that I had a diagnosis of early onset vascular dementia."
Stewart also took the opportunity this morning to note what incredible support he's received from GB News since being diagnosed with the disease.
He said: "So, GB News didn't then say, 'Oh god well that's hopeless, we can't have you on screen or anything like that'. Quite the opposite. GB News, and across the spectrum [...] just drew together as one and back to me.
"So I remain on the books, I have a contributor contract [...] They were just so totally loyal to me."
Dementia UK’s Senior Consultant Admiral Nurse Victoria Lyons told LADbible: "We’re sorry to hear that Alastair Stewart has been diagnosed with dementia, and hope that he and his family are receiving the support and assistance they need at this time. By choosing to speak publicly about his diagnosis, Alastair will raise vital awareness of dementia and we hope that this will encourage others to seek advice if they have concerns for their brain health.
"We urge families affected by dementia to reach out to our specialist Helpline. Staffed by dementia specialist Admiral Nurses, our Helpline offers support and guidance on all stages of dementia, including grieving for a loved one. Anyone affected by dementia can contact the Helpline by calling 0800 888 6678 or emailing [email protected]."