Bill Duncan, 71, has been with his wife Anne, 69, for 18 years, and the pair married in 2007. However, as a result of his neurogenerative disease, Bill has forgotten important moments from his life including the fact that Anne is his wife.
As a result, Bill proposed to his partner last week and the pair renewed their wedding vows on Saturday at their home in Aberdeen.
“We’d been to a family member’s wedding earlier in the month, and clearly it touched Bill as he turned to me not long after and said that he wanted to be with me forever,” Anne explained.
“He asked me when would we be walking up the aisle together, and I thought he would just forget he’d asked me that, but then the next day he said it again.”
In the lead up to the nuptials, Anne said that Bill had asked her about the wedding every day and was insistent on maryring her.
“I walked down the aisle with my wonderful husband, 12 years after our first wedding,” she added.
Anne said that their friends helped decorate the garden and make a wedding cake, and that their daughter Andrea convinced her to buy a white dress for the couple’s big day.
“We renewed our vows surrounded by a small group of our friends and family, and even added some bits in for Bill so it felt like he really was getting married,” she continued.
“It was the most beautiful day, and being with our friends in the garden we share together made it all the more perfect.”
The pair first met in 2001 when Bill was performing as an entertainer and magician in Aberdeen. Bill was diagnosed with dementia in 2010 and Anne has since cared for her husband, who now struggles to talk.
“It can be difficult adjusting to life with dementia for both the sufferer and their partner, and we’re always looking for ways to still enjoy ourselves,” Anne, who runs a monthly disco for people with dementia and their loved ones, added.
“We attended a friend’s party last year, and as Bill and I took to the dance floor, it was like all of our troubles melted away.”
Anne said that Bill has been happy and affectionate ever since they renewed their vows.
“Bill has been so affectionate ever since I accepted his proposal, lavishing me in kisses and cuddles,” she said.
“Since his diagnosis, his displays of affection have become scarce, so to have all of this love radiating from him towards me has been truly wonderful.
The “newlywed” described the wedding ceremony as “very emotional” and that she is happy that her husband continues to lover her after years of battling dementia.
“Bill is a wonderful man and has always brought joy to other people’s lives throughout his career as an entertainer, and he’ll never stop bringing joy to mine,” she added.
The NHS states that dementia is not a disease itself but rather a collection of symptoms that result from damage to the brain caused by different diseases, such as Alzheimer's. Its symptoms can vary according to the part of the brain that is affected but can include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mood changes and confusion about time and place.
Alzheimer's disease is still the most common type of dementia in people under 65. However, a higher percentage of people in this age group may develop frontotemporal dementia than older people, the NHS explains, and most cases are diagnosed in people aged 45-65.
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