More than 1,000 walkers gather at South Shields' Bents Park for Alzheimer’s Society memory walk
Around 1,200 walkers united at Bents Park in South Shields for the annual memory walk in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.
The event on Saturday, October 9, was held for the first time in two years after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
Held in support of people suffering from dementia, many of those taking part had their own personal stories of how they were touched by the condition.
Among them was Melissa Young, from South Shields, who walked along with family members in memory of her nana, Gladys Swales, who died seven years ago.
After completing the 7km route, she said: “It was tough going at times and I felt like giving up, but nana kept me going. This has been my third memory walk and there has been a wonderful atmosphere.”
Walkers had the choice of a 1.5km or 7km route to raise money for the charity.
Kerry Cafferty, 45, whose mam Patricia Humble 72, is living with dementia, took part in the walk with friends and family dressed in pink tutus and Alzheimer’s Society T-shirts.
Until recently Kerry, of Morpeth, Northumberland, was caring for her at home although due to her deteriorating condition Patricia is now in care home.
This year’s walk started in two groups an hour apart to help maintain social distancing and Kerry was thrilled to be chosen to cut the ribbon to get the first one underway.
She said: “It has been a very special day and has helped me to focus on all the wonderful memories I have of mam. Even though she doesn’t recognise me anymore, I know she would be proud that I’m walking for her.”
Danielle Cooper, Alzheimer’s Society area Manager, says people affected by dementia, worst hit by coronavirus, face a difficult road to recovery due to a lack of social contact, routine and interruptions to essential care and support.
She said: “The pandemic has been catastrophic for people with dementia, with Alzheimer’s Society’s services, like our Dementia Connect support line, used over six million times since lockdown began in March 2020.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”