Leeds Memory Walk Against Dementia


Hundreds of Alzheimer’s Society walkers stepped out in Leeds to pay tribute to loved ones affected by dementia.

The get-together on Saturday marked a welcome return for Alzheimer’s Society’s hugely popular Memory Walk, which had to be cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

A sea of blue decorated Leeds’ picturesque Temple Newsam estate, as walkers came in their branded t-shirts with messages and images of loved ones, or words of support for the cause, pinned to them.

Among them was Debbie Skenfield, of Crossgates, Leeds, who lost her grandfather, Geoff Lancaster, to dementia last year and now faces losing her gran, Betty, after she was also diagnosed with the condition.

Pharmacy worker Debbie, 43, was asked to cut this year’s ribbon at the starting line, a role that meant a great deal, especially this year.

She said: “I’ve taken part in Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk twice before but to lose my grandfather and then for my gran to be diagnosed, it means so much more to be taking part this year.”

Walking the 6km route with her son, his fiancé and her partner’s niece, she added: “I thought it might feel odd attending an event since the pandemic began but the atmosphere was great and everyone was in high spirits as always.

“You get such a heart-warming feeling from the day. People left so many personal and meaningful messages on the memory tree. It really brings home the extent of how many people are affected by dementia.

“I’ll be giving my participant medal to my gran, just like I did with my grandfather after the previous walks. I’m looking to do this every year with my family, it’s a great way to pay tribute and take time to reflect.”

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. Alzheimer’s Society’s crucial work has never been needed more.

Natasha Mort, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager, said: “We are in awe of our incredible fundraisers who turned out in their hundreds to support the estimated 76,000 people living with dementia in Yorkshire and Humber.

“It was extremely moving to see so many people come together to honour or remember their loved ones.

“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.

“Every pound raised from the Leeds walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”

 Visit memorywalk.org.uk to find out more about the remaining Memory Walk events or to organise your own Memory Walk at a location and time of your choosing.

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