Hundreds of Alzheimer’s Society supporters joined forces at the weekend to raise money for people with dementia and their carers at South Shields Memory Walk.
More than 1,000 walkers set out from Bents Park for the 7km coastal walk to remember and support loved ones affected by dementia.
Among them was Nicola Marlborough, of East Herrington, County Durham, who cut the ribbon to officially start the walk alongside friend Kirsty Calvert.
Both women have first-hand experience of the condition. Nicola’s mum Ann, 76, was diagnosed with dementia less than three months ago, but Nicola says there were signs that all was not well as far back as 2016.
Nicola and her mum, Ann
Nicola, a customer care adviser said:
“I took the decision to move back in with my parents back in 2009 and I’m glad I did because it made it possible for me to look after mum as well as support my dad
“She looked after me for many years, so taking care of her now is the least I can do. Until the inevitable day comes – and we know it will – I want to be able to hold up my head and say I did everything I possibly could to keep her at home with me and dad.”
“It’s been a beautiful day – Kirsty and I have loved taking part in our first ever Memory Walk. It’s been so heart-warming.”
The Memory Walk
Walk participants were invited to post personal messages of love and hope on the event site’s Memory Tree before taking part in Alzheimer’s Society’s ever-popular Zumba warm-up dance.
After Nicola cut the ribbon the walkers, most wearing Alzheimer’s Society blue, made their way along the winding coastal path that forms much of the route.
A lifeline of support
Ellie McGarry Coleman, the Event Fundraising Officer or Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“Today was an opportunity for all of those affected by dementia to come together and pay tribute to their loved ones. We are in awe of our incredible fundraisers who go above and beyond to raise vital funds and awareness for people living with dementia.
“It has been extremely moving to see so many come together for this very special event. Every step taken will help us provide a lifeline of support for as many people affected by dementia as possible.
“Too many people face dementia alone. With the help of our brilliant fundraisers, we can ensure that everyone affected by dementia can turn to us for expert support through practical advice, emotional support, and guidance for the best next step.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s South Shields Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”