More than 1,000 fundraisers join Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk in South Shields for annual 'day of reflection'
More than 1,000 walkers laced up their hiking boots and hit the road in South Shields to support the Alzheimer’s Society.
The event returned to the town today (Saturday, October 8) for just the second time since the coronavirus pandemic forced it into a two-year hiatus.
The option of a 1.5 km and 7 km route gave meant a wide variety of people affected by the disease, either directly or indirectly, were able to take part.
And all of them had a unique story to tell about how it had impact their own lives, or the life of a loved one.
Nicola Marlborough, 47, was invited to cut the starting ribbon after taking part in a campaign to publicise the event and asked pal Kirsty Calvert to help.
Nicola, from East Herrington, said her mum Ann, 76, had only recently been diagnosed, while Kirsty, 29, from Springwell Estate, was walking for her dad Joe, 69 who was diagnosed in 2019
"[With mum,] all the alarm bells were there for a long time, but due to Covid, everything got knocked back,” said Nicola.
"This is the first time we have done it and as soon as I saw it on the TV I was up for it.
"When Kirsty found out what I was doing should asked if she could do it too.
"We both applied to do the walk and then Ken Oxley, the organiser asked if I would be willing to talk to the media, then Ken rang back to ask if I would cut the ribbon, so I jumped at the chance."
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, it us estimated that by 2025, 1 million people will be living with the condition in the UK, while people with dementia make up almost three quarters of care home residents.
Money raised through events like the Memory Walk help fund support services, as well as research into the conditions and possible treatments.
Event manager Ellie McGarry Coleman said: "We are expecting about 1,200 people and we are hoping to raise £2.3 million across the 25 walks.
"It's not meant to be a challenge, it's a day of reflection for people who have been through similar experiences to come together."