Pipe organ builder’s legacy shines bright

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Janice Rushworth will be speaking at A Night of Stars Gala Dinner on Saturday 25 February. To book your tickets click here.

A pipe organ builder from Sherwood who passed away last year from dementia is being remembered by his wife at an upcoming fundraising gala in Brisbane later this month.
Alastair Rushworth, a fifth generation organ builder whose family once sold the Beatles their first guitar, was diagnosed with dementia unexpectedly at just 66 years old, having emigrated from the UK in 2009.
His passion for organ building took him all around the world and after arriving in Brisbane he was welcomed by the Brisbane Organ Committee, who were recently involved in restoring Brisbane City Hall’s Organ.
Since his passing a year ago this month, his wife Janice, a Clinical Services Manager, has channelled her energy into the search for a cure and will be a guest speaker at Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld)’s A Night of Stars Gala at the Stamford Plaza in Brisbane.
“Following Alastair’s diagnosis, we briefly toyed with the idea of returning to the UK but it was a brief and passing idea. Life was simply too good here even with such a devastating illness,” said Janice.
“We were really lucky that our friends, neighbours and colleagues and the local community did not abandon or isolate us, but rather sought to understand, accept and support us both through what has been a sad and challenging time, and in so doing making life not just bearable but valuable and special.”
The Alastair Rushworth Scholarship Research Fund has now raised over $10,000 thanks to Janice’s generous work colleagues, friends, family and community supporters, as Janice rebuilds a new future without her late husband.
“Alastair continues to be honoured and remembered and those of us who are left behind can take a small part in supporting research that could find the key to understanding this disease more clearly,” Janice said.
CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) Victoria Beedle said that 67,600 Queenslanders were living with dementia and raising awareness was important to start to break down the negative stigmas associated with the condition.
“When Janice first made contact with Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld), her goal was to create a legacy for a beautiful life and we are very thankful for her efforts in raising much needed funds to support future research.”
“Janice was very lucky in finding support through her friends. However, unfortunately, there is still a lack of understanding and awareness about dementia and people can very often find themselves isolated from society because they don’t know how to help or feel uncomfortable.”
“People can live well after their diagnosis if they are given the right support, but it is important that we continue to campaign for better understanding around this condition in our community and educate people so that they know how they can best support their loved one.”

Alastair Rushworth as a young man in Liverpool, UK


Alastair's family music store in Liverpool, UK


Local musicians, John Lennon and George Harrison purchasing their first guitars from the family store


To book your tickets to A Night of Stars please click here

Purchase two tickets to A night of Stars for the chance to join Ita Buttrose at an intimate lunch event on Friday 24 February. View competition Terms and Conditions.


Support available
Alzheimer’s Australia provides individualised information and support to improve the quality of life for people with younger onset dementia. For more information you can call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visitwww.fightdementia.org.au

What is dementia?
Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning. There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s diseasevascular dementiafrontotemporal dementia and Lewy Body disease. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.

About Younger Onset Dementia
Younger onset dementia is a term used to describe the onset of symptoms of dementia before the age of 65. Based on research evidence, it is estimated that more than 26,600 people in Australia have younger onset dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body for people with dementia and their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 353,800 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.

Media enquiries: Sibel Korhaliller, Marketing and Communications Manager, 0411 101 896