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'The Farm Fixer' star sets up her spinning wheel to launch Stormont Memory Walk

Published 3 July 2013

'The Farm Fixer' star, Siobhan Holloway set up her spinning wheel outside Stormont Parliament Buildings today (12pm Wednesday 3 July) to launch Alzheimer's Society's Stormont Memory Walk 2013.

She was joined by people with dementia, their carers, Alzheimer's Society staff, volunteers and two of her rare Longwool Leicestershire sheep, Fay and Fitz.

Siobhan, who is due to appear on BBC One's popular 'The Farm Fixer' programme this autumn alongside Nick from 'The Apprentice', will be giving spinning demonstrations at the Stormont Memory Walk, which takes place on Saturday 21 September in the iconic Stormont Estate.

Memory Walk is Alzheimer's Society's flagship fundraising event which sees walks taking place around the UK throughout September. For the third year running, Memory Walk will be held in partnership with Bupa Care Homes. Together, Alzheimer's Society and Bupa aim to support more people living with dementia through the vital funds that are raised.

There are an estimated 19,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland. This is expected to rise to 25,000 by 2021. Siobhan, whose spinning demonstrations form part of the vast array of entertainment on offer at the walk, said:

'I got involved with Memory Walk because my friend’s mother works for Alzheimer's Society and I think it's a very good cause. With so many people in Northern Ireland being affected by dementia, it's important the right services are in place to support people.'

Shirley Graham from Bangor, County Down, attended the launch alongside her father, Jimmy McDowell, who was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Shirley said:

'I'm taking part in Memory Walk to help improve the lives of people like my dad, who are living with dementia. We are actually planning a family get together for after the walk, which will create new memories for us to share in the future. I would encourage other people from around Northern Ireland to sign up for this year's Memory Walk and help make it a day to remember.'

Janet Plunkett, Community Fundraising Manager from Alzheimer's Society, said:

'Memory Walk is an excellent opportunity for families and friends to get together and enjoy a day to remember with lots of entertainment and refreshments. We are really excited to be holding Memory Walk in the beautiful grounds of the Stormont Estate. Each year Memory walk is bigger than the year before and raises even more money. We don't want this year to be any different.

'Thanks to the support of Bupa Care Homes Alzheimer's Society is able to reach even more people and raise even more money to support people with dementia.'

Siobhan Drane, Partnerships Manager for Bupa Care Services said:

'This is the third year that Bupa's care homes have helped deliver the Northern Ireland Flagship Memory Walk, to provide valuable support for people who are living with dementia. That’s why our staff, who care for people with the condition, will be getting behind Memory Walk this September.'

Those who sign up to the Northern Ireland Memory Walk can choose between a gentle 2km wheelchair accessible walk or a more challenging 10km walk. Both walks start and finish in the shadow of Parliament Buildings with spectacular views stretching over Belfast.

For more information, or to register, please visit memorywalk.org.uk/stormont

-END-

Notes to editors:

  • Memory Walk is Alzheimer's Society's flagship fundraising event which sees walks taking place around the UK throughout September.
  • Memory Walk 2013 is being held in partnership with Bupa Care Homes. Together, Alzheimer's Society and Bupa aim to support more people living with dementia through the vital funds that are raised.
  • One in three people over 65 will develop dementia
  • Alzheimer's Society research shows that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer's disease. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051
  • There are an estimated 19,000 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland. This is expected to rise to 25,000 by 2021.
  • Alzheimer's Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them
  • Alzheimer's Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Alzheimer's Society has a plan to deal with dementia. Help us support people to live well today and fight for a world without dementia tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk
  • Alzheimer's Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk
  • Bupa Care Services
  • In the UK, Bupa Care Services, that includes Bupa Care Homes, is the second biggest care home provider.
  • We have more than 300 nursing and residential care homes, where we look after over 18,000 people.
  • Over 70% of our UK residents receive some form of state funding, either from Local Authorities or the NHS.
  • We employ over 27,000 people in the UK.
  • We are a leading provider of specialist dementia care. Our unique 'Person First, dementia second' training has been specially developed by Bradford Dementia Group at the University of Bradford.
  • For more information, visit www.bupa.co.uk/care-homes
  • Press Office 0113 381 6255 Email: Fiona.bray@bupa.com