Pools win character Viv has dementia

A campaign to raise awareness of dementia has been launched after Britain’s most famous pools winner was struck down with the condition.

Castleford’s Viv Nicholson, 77, vowed to “spend, spend, spend” after winning the equivalent of £5m in today’s money in 1961.

Fifty-three years on, her son Howard Nicholson has revealed she is suffering from dementia, and has pledged to raise awareness and cash to help find a cure.

Mr Nicholson, 54, will walk the Great Wall of China in the autumn for the charity Dementia UK.

He said: “The condition progresses and gets worse.

“It is at quite an advanced stage at the moment.

“There is a gradual deterioration that this dreadful condition brings.

“There is no rhyme or reason to it.

“Since my mother’s had dementia I’ve come across loads people in my circle of friends who are affected by it.

“If we don’t spend, spend, spend we are never going to find answers and a cure for it.”

Mr Nicholson will head to China in October, and aims to raise £3,000 from the walk.

He added: “It will be a gruelling eight or nine hours a day, definitely not a walk in the park. It’s going to be a tough one.”

Viv, who now lives in a care home in Castleford, shot to fame with her famous catchphrase after she and her husband Keith won £152,00 in 1961.

The award-winning West End musical Spend Spend Spend was written about her colourful life.

She was also invited to pose for the cover of the Smiths’ 1984 record Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.

To sponsor Mr Nicholson on the walk, log on to justgiving.com/Howard-Nicholson