On the march to rid society of dementia
MORE than 5,000 people united against dementia by taking part in the North East’s biggest ever Memory Walk yesterday.
The event, organised by Alzheimer’s Society, raised an estimated £362,000 towards research and treatment to support those living with the condition.
A sea of people wearing bright blue Alzheimer’s Society T-Shirts set off from Bents Park, South Shields, before snaking their way along the spectacular 7km coastal route.
They walked in memory of loved ones lost or to pay tribute to a relative or friend currently living with dementia. And many diagnosed with the condition took part too.
The walk was officially started by BAFTA award-winning actor John Middleton, whose Emmerdale character, vicar Ashley Thomas, died following a long-running storyline that chronicled his decline after being diagnosed with dementia.
The father-of-two, who has lived in Newcastle and Whitley Bay, said: “There’s a fantastic atmosphere here today and for me it’s almost like coming home – you can almost see ‘wor hoose’ from here.
“I loved playing Ashley and the dementia storyline in particular – it has been the role of my life so far.
“I could have walked away from this story once filming had finished, but I can’t – in fact I can’t walk away from this story for the rest of my life because I now realise how many people are affected by dementia, and something must be done about it.”
He added: “The Alzheimer’s Society takes the view that you can live well with dementia and that’s true – we have seen that today with many people who have the condition taking part.
“But what we are working towards is a world without