Many Friends Avoid Me.If Only They'd Realise Im the Still the Same Old Buffin; Dale Buffin Griffin Is Best Known as the Drummer in Seventies Rock Band Mott the Hoople. He Also Has Alzheimers Disease, as He Told Health Editor Madeleine Brindley

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Byline: Madeleine Brindley

DALE GRIFFIN describes Alzheimers as a "horrible" disease with little public awareness - on some days he will feel fine; on others he doesnt know whats happening to him.

It is because of the nature of dementia and the lack of awareness about the disease that Dale decided to speak publicly about his illness for the first time.

There had been many rumours circulating about the state of Dales health for some time. These were finally laid to rest when Mott The Hoople confirmed he had early onset Alzheimers last year, after the much-loved rock band played a week of 40th anniversary concerts at the HMV Apollo in Hammersmith.

A press release issued by the band about Dales health at the time, said: "Physically, he is as fit as a fiddle and is bearing his illness with great fortitude and typical good humour."

Diagnosed three years ago, at the age of 58, Dales onset of Alzheimers was gradual and probably occurred, largely unnoticed, over several years.

Jean Smith, Dales long-time partner, said: "Dale was doing some weird things for quite a while but I put them down to him being an eccentric musician - thats the trouble with Alzheimers.

"It took quite a while to recognise it was more than eccentricity. It was when he got to the point that he couldnt write that we both knew something was drastically wrong.

"Not being able to write anything anymore has been a real blow to Dale because he was so erudite, funny and clever with words.

"But the worst thing for me has been to see his loss of confidence because he was always such a confident and considerate man."

Dale, who lives in Usk, said: "Ive come to terms with it now but when I first started out I kept thinking, Im not demented.

"Sometimes Im me, but sometimes I get scared of things. If I do go out with Jean I will get frightened if she walks away, even if shes just a few feet away.

"I have really dark fears and if I suddenly lose track of Jean, suddenly everything falls apart.

"Im thinking whats happened to me? "As a child I was fearless, I had no fears at all. But as Ive got older Ive become more careful and Ive assumed thats down to the Alzheimers.

"Some days Im perfectly OK and right but every now and again its a bit of a pain."

Dale Buffin Griffin, who was born in Ross-on-Wye, is best known as one of the founder members of the Seventies rock band Mott The Hoople, which recorded the hit song All the Young Dudes.

But his music career stretched far beyond the classic British band, which released a staggering 14 singles and eight albums. During the 1980s he worked as a music producer for such bands as Hanoi Rocks and The Cult and produced numerous John Peel sessions between 1983 and 1994.

He also produced some early tracks for Nirvana, which appeared on the Incesticide collection. …