4,200 walkers join fight against dementia

Picture by: Shawn Ryan
Picture by: Shawn Ryan

A crowd of 4,200 walked in the sunshine at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire on Saturday to raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society.

The walk was the first at the park for the charity and attracted numbers exceeding the organiser’s expectations, making it one of the biggest in the history of Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walks.

The starting ribbon was cut by Tony Delahunty, Managing Director of Mansfield 103.2 along with Tony’s colleague Jo Watts and her husband Phil Watts from Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Jo and Phil have both survived transplants and were walking for Phil’s mother, who has dementia. Jo said: “It’s inspiring to see so many people out here. Dementia is such a difficult thing to deal with - my mother-in-law has lost her personality, she’s not the same woman she used to be and if we can find a way of helping anyone with dementia, it’s worth every bit of pain we might suffer today.

“My husband is a heart transplant patient and I’m a kidney and pancreas transplant patient. No two days are the same for myself and I didn’t know if I was going to make today until I got up this morning but I’m glad to do it. I’ll pay for it tomorrow and I’ll be in a heck of a lot pain but I’m here and I want to do it.”

Tony Delahunty said: “I was inspired by the number of listeners who were doing the walk, including my own PA. I asked them why are you doing it, and people said ‘because it’s a big problem and people don’t realise what everyone connected with dementia has to work with, and how dementia can change the whole of a family’s life’. And I thought to myself ‘I like walking, and if I can walk to some value and give it some publicity, I’d really like to do that’.”

People from across the county and from neighbouring counties took part in the walk, completing either a 3km or 9km route. The charity hopes to raise £290,000 from the Clumber Park walk.

The event also included a Zumba warmup and a visit from the Dementia Community Roadshow.

Pippa Foster, operations manager for Alzheimer’s Society in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire said: “We are so pleased that so many people came to Clumber Park to help tackle the biggest health issue of our time. The money raised will help provide better local support and care for people living with dementia and research to find a cure. I’d like to say a big thankyou to all our amazing volunteers who all gave their time to make today possible.”

Walks are being held in England, Wales and Northern Ireland this autumn. Alzheimer’s Society is hoping to have over 100,000 people walking for a world without dementia and aims to raise more than £6.4 million.