Thousands of people joined together in South Tyneside to remember the loved ones they’ve lost to dementia.
Around 4,500 people took part in the Alzheimer’s Society South Shields Memory Walk, which set off from Bents Park on Saturday.
Participants took on 1.5km and 7km walks from the park, in Sea Road, along the coast, to raise money for the charity which helps people with dementia. The walkers were out in force wearing T-shirts that carried the slogan, ‘I’m walking for a world without dementia’.
Many of those taking part had lost loved ones to the disease, who they could pay tribute to by hanging their names on a memory tree in the centre of the park.
The walk took place in Bents Park for the first time after out-growing its previous venues.
June Collins, 49, from Boldon, was taking on the 7km walk with her grandson Max McArdle, one.
She said: “We’re not doing the walk in memory of anyone as thankfully no one we know has suffered, we just think it’s a great cause and wanted to get involved by taking part.
“It’s excellent to see so many people here working together to raise money for the charity.”
Sarah Robson, from Biddick Hall, South Shields, took on the 1.5km walk in memory of her grandmother, Patricia Robson, who passed away in June after battling dementia.
Taking part in the walk was a particularly impressive feat for Sarah, who has agoraphobia, a fear of open and public places.
The 22-year-old said: “I’m agoraphobic and also have depression so to be in the middle of everyone like this is a bit nerve-racking, but it’s exciting at the same time.
“I think it really helps knowing that everyone is here for the same reason.”
She added: “We never got a full diagnosis for my nanna but it was clear that she had dementia and she ended up going into a special home for people with dementia towards the end of her life and it was hard seeing her go through everything.
“We raised £200 for the Alzheimer’s Society at her funeral and I’ve already raised £214 through sponsorship for the walk so I’m really happy.”
Alzheimer’s Society research shows 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, about 35,000 of them in the North East.