Melissa steps out on Memory Walk in tribute to her '˜hero' grandad

Melissa Derbyshire is putting her best foot forward in memory of her beloved grandad.

Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 1:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 2:21 pm
Melissa Derbyshire is doing a Memory Walk in tribute to her grandad.

Jonathan ‘Jonty’ Todd was 75 when he succumbed to vascular dementia in 2014.

Melissa, 28, of West Rainton, is determined to raise awareness of the disease and will join dozens of other taking part in the Alzheimer’s Society’s flagship event, Memory Walk, in Bents Park, South Shields, on Saturday, October 8.

Melissa Derbyshire with grandad Jonty.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“I’m walking for my grandad – he was a real hero because of the way he fought this terrible disease,” she said.

“I’m so proud to have called him my grandad – he was a pure champ.

“Now I want to do all I can to raise awareness and money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the hope that one day a cure will be found.

Melissa, who works at Asda’s Washington warehouse, was particularly close to her grandad as a youngster: “I think he had a real soft spot for me.

Melissa Derbyshire with grandad Jonty.

“He wasn’t an especially cuddly person, but he used to cuddle me often,” she said.

Jonathan’s wife Norma died 15 years ago and he began showing early signs of memory loss shortly after.

“They had a really good social life, but after gran died granddad had less interaction with people and I think that may have had something to do with the disease taking hold,” said Melissa.

“He used to leave the cooker on, or he’d turn up at our house unexpected and not know why he was here.”

“I’m really looking forward to Memory Walk. I’ve never done anything like it before and I plan to have a photograph of grandad printed on the back of my Memory Walk T Shirt so people know why I am doing it.”

There are two walks, covering either 1.5km or 7km, both at 11am. Participants must register in advance at www.memorywalk.org.uk or by calling 0300 330 5452.