AN 8ft “pledge tree” will be unveiled by a campaigner to raise awareness of dementia.

Award-winning campaigner Tommy Whitelaw will unveil the Dementia Care Pledge Tree at Colchester General Hospital.

Anyone can add paper leaves to the tree, with a pledge about making a difference to the lives of those affected by dementia.

Tommy’s own pledge will become the first leaf and about 40 staff will add to the tree on the day.

Vanessa Mclean, dementia care nurse specialist, said: “It gives the hospital an opportunity to raise awareness of dementia and demonstrate how committed we are to the care of patients and to the support of carers and relatives. The process of making a pledge is quite a personal thing and makes you think about dementia and the impact a stay in hospital can have.

“This will help us to improve the service we provide.”

Once the tree is full, it will be covered and secured, acting as a permanent piece of artwork at the Surgical assessment unit.

The tree was painted by Lara Wallington, 16, from Highwoods who is an A-Level student at Colchester Sixth Form College. She spent two weeks working on the project.

Tommy gave up working with some of the world’s top bands to become a full-time carer for his mum Joan, from when she was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2007 until her death in September 2012.

He will give a talk on his experience caring for his mum. Tommy, who has al - ready visited the hospital, said: “The pledges from my last visit tell the story of the passion, dedication and care of the remarkable people who work across the trust.”

The Alzheimer’s Society says one in four adults admitted to an acute hospital has dementia. Miss Mclean thinks the percentage for Colchester may be higher, because of the number of elderly people in the area.

The unveiling will take place at Colchester General Hospital on Thursday.