An emotional day as over 1000 people take part in the Memory Walk in South Shields

The Memory Walk at Bents Exhibition Park in South Shields held on October 5 has so far raised £160,000.

Saturday, 5th October 2019, 12:55 pm
Updated Sunday, 6th October 2019, 4:19 pm
Emmerdale actor John Middleton starts the Alzheimer Society's Memory Walkers from Bents Park, South Shields.

It was an emotional day for the hundreds who took part in the Alzeimer’s Society memory walk as more than £150,000 was raised for the cause.

Emmerdale actor John Middleton launched the walk after taking part in previous events.

He said: “It’s about more than just memory loss and it doesn’t get enough funding.

Emmerdale actor John Middleton starts the Alzheimer Society's Memory Walkers from Bents Park, South Shields.

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“Everyone I meet tells me their story in incredibly moving detail, and seeing all these people here today gives me hope.”

With every step walked, the friends and family members of those affected by dementia and Alzheimer's raise the funds necessary for valuable research.

Leanne Hall, walking for her Grandmother said: “She raised me when I was kid, it’s heartbreaking.

“She brought up eight children and know she doesn’t even know who she is,

Alzheimer Society's Memory Walkers set off from Bents Park, South Shields.

“It sounds so bad, but sometimes I can’t even face seeing her.”

One person every three minutes is diagnosed with dementia in the UK.

Ann-Marie Thomas, walking for her father, said: “We lost him to the pneumonia in the end, but it made the dementia worse.

“He still recognised his family because we took care of him, but he struggled with time and money. He started to remember things from when he was young and from when he was in the army – things we never knew because he’d never spoke about it before.”

Alzheimer Society's Memory Walkers set off from Bents Park, South Shields.

When Ann-Marie began to notice changes in his memory, she took him to the doctors where he was then referred to a memory clinic and diagnosed with dementia. Anne-Marie, her mother, and brother took full time care of her father as his memory got worse. When he got pneumonia his family was warned he might not make it.

Ann-Marie added: “When he went into hospital, he began to refuse food and his medication, a week and a half later he died.

“Sometimes I wondered what he was thinking, if he was concerned and realised what was happening to him.

“It wasn’t until my dad was diagnosed that I realised just how underfunded dementia and Alzheimer's research is and that’s why I’m walking today.”

Alzheimer Society's Memory Walkers set off from Bents Park, South Shields.
Alzheimer Society's Memory Walkers set off from Bents Park, South Shields.