On last night’s Made in Chelsea, Gareth Locke opened up about his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis in an emotional conversation with Olivia Bentley. After a devastating year kept away from her because of lockdown, Gareth revealed how difficult it’s been particularly now that he and husband Ollie are set to become parents.
‘I’m not going to be able to get parenting tips from my mother, she’s gone’ he began before getting emotional. ‘It’s so tough, I just feel like obviously lockdown is just hell, she’s in the home and I’m chomping at the bit to get in and see her so the first day I can I’m going to go. It was her birthday the other day, I feel really guilty because I haven’t video called her and done all that stuff, she’s just “not there”.
‘My mum has been ill now for 11 years,’ Gareth continued. ‘She was an absolute powerhouse, she was always the brightest light in the room. The thing is I’m so upset because I had such a great mum, even if you just have them for a moment, I just have to think nothing lasts forever and I was lucky to have that.’
The powerful scene resonated with fans, with Gareth receiving tons of support online for sharing the brutal reality of having a family member diagnosed Alzheimer’s. He had previously spoke about how hard it was not having his mother at his wedding to Ollie in December, with fans devastated he still hasn't been able to spend time with her because of coronavirus restrictions.
‘In all my years watching Made in Chelsea, the scene with Gareth and Liv Bentley talking about his mum really made me teary-eyed,’ one social media user tweeted. ‘Mothers are so important and we must cherish them every single day because they won't be here forever.’
‘Sending so much love to Gareth,’ another added. ‘It’s an absolutely heart-breaking illness that impacts so many people and families, in so many different ways, so it’s really something to see Alzheimer’s awareness on a show as huge as Made in Chelsea.’
In fact, fans were so moved by Gareth's scenes it appears they are desperate to know more about his mother. Right now, 'Gareth Locke mum' is the biggest breakout search term under Made In Chelsea on Google Trends. With so much interest in his families experience with dementia, it appears viewers hope Made in Chelsea producers continue to allow Gareth to raise awareness of the harrowing and enduring pain the disease causes so many families.
According to the Alzheimer's Society, over 850,000 people have dementia in the UK as of 2019. That represents 1 in every 14 of the population (aged 65 years and over) with the charity estimating that at the current rate of prevalence, by 2040 there will be over 1.5 million people with dementia in the UK.
Later in the show, Gareth hosted a fundraiser with his friends to support Alzheimer’s charities and in one touching scene, Olivia gifted him with a framed picture of him as a child with his mum and brother.
‘I’m actually so touched by how everyone’s got involved,’ he said of the fundraiser. ‘This has been a hugely cathartic thing, even little things just helped me feel better about it. I really struggled with being able to go to the home and see her but now going in there, I’m going to be there pretty much every day. It’s given me a newfound respect for even the way my mum is now, being able to spend time with her.’
Gareth has also expressed his thanks for viewers support online since the episode aired.
If you’ve been affected by Alzheimer’s, click here to get support or get involved in fundraisers or contact the Dementia Support Line at 0333 150 3456