Former Emmerdale actor, John Middleton, thrilled residents of a Middlesbrough care home when he arrived to officially open a care to show his gratitude to the care group who taught him about dementia.
Mr Middleton played vicar Ashley Thomas who diagnosed with dementia and worked with Methodist Homes (MHA) who advised Emmerdale on the storyline.
The actor’s character developed stroke-related vascular dementia and he showed how thankful he was when he officially opened MHA’s newest care home Montpellier Manor in September.
He said: “I first came across MHA while I was doing research into dementia for the character I played in Emmerdale.
“The very first care home I visited was Glen Rosa in Ilkley and I was absolutely bowled over by the care and atmosphere of that place.
“Montpellier Manor is the same – it’s just newer. And I can’t wait to come back to visit soon. The important word here is ‘home’ and that’s the impression I get, it’s a home where people can live with dignity and a whole lot of happiness.”
Emmerdale fans had the pleasure of watching the vicar for more than 20 years, from watching him lose their son to cot death in 2008, to his marriage to Bernice and his final storyline that fans described as ‘ground breaking’ and ‘his best yet.’
“We absolutely needed MHA’s support and their knowledge and the way in which they could introduce us to people who could tell us their stories.
“As I started researching vascular dementia, I thought we had a huge responsibility to get it right. A lot of people have first-hand experience and awareness of dementia so meeting people with dementia and their carers has been vital,” said Mr Middleton.
Towards the end of his storyline, Mr Middleton starred in a one-off episode showing viewers an insight into the life of someone with dementia.
Montpellier Manor offers dementia and residential care and is MHA’s 90th home.
To prepare for his storyline, Mr Middleton made several visits to Glen Rosa, MHA’s Ilkey-based care home, where the impact dementia has on family members too was also incorporated into the storyline.
Sam Monaghan, chief executive of MHA, said: “John did a sterling performance in Emmerdale following the storyline of somebody who had early onset dementia and MHA were privileged to be approached to provide the guidance to those who were writing the script.”
MHA gave input into characters’ dialogue, scripts and supported Mr Middleton to deliver a realistic portrayal of someone living with dementia.
Mr Middleton said: “I’m very proud to be here at the opening of Montpellier Manor. I’ve just had a look around and it’s an absolutely delightful place.
“You never know, I might come here one day.”