Stars from the worlds of sport, music and TV join forces in support of Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk
Carey Mulligan, Jonathan Pryce CBE and Vicky McClure have completed their own Memory Walks for Alzheimer’s Society to support people affected by dementia, worst hit by coronavirus crisis.
To celebrate World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September), Olympians, Grammy nominees and BAFTA winners all affected by dementia have put their best foot forwards by taking part in Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk.
What is Memory Walk?
Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk, sponsored by Santander, is an opportunity for families to reminisce and take time to remember or celebrate the lives of people with dementia.
This year, rather than the charity hosting large walks, people are being asked to sign up for free and complete their own walk at any point until the end of October.
Which celebrities were involved?
Stars from our favourite films involved this year include BAFTA-winning and charity Ambassador Carey Mulligan, fellow Suffragettes star Anne-Marie Duff and Lesley Manville OBE and Jonathan Pryce CBE, who have both most recently been cast to play Princess Margaret and Prince Philip in the Netflix series The Crown.
Fellow Game of Thrones alumni Iwan Rheon, who played villain Ramsey Bolton in the hit TV show, also completed his own Memory Walk as well as Alzheimer’s Society Ambassadors This Morning favourite Ruth Langsford and Vicky McClure, who managed to take part before heading to Belfast to film the upcoming series of Line of Duty.
Preparing for the postponed Tokyo Olympics next year didn’t deter World Champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Adam Gemili from taking part in Memory Walk, where he revisited London’s Olympic Park on the day of what should have been the 100m relay final.
Grammy-nominated music producer Shahid Khan, better known as DJ and producer Naughty Boy also got involved as well as Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke and his fiancé Gareth Locke. TV legends Paul Whitehouse (Harry & Paul), Sir Tony Robinson (Blackadder), Sue Holderness (Only Fools and Horses) and charity Ambassador Kevin Whately (Lewis) all completed their own walks.
Soap rivalry temporarily came to a truce, with past and present cast members from Corrie’s cobbles, the Yorkshire Dales and the East End all joining forces to unite against dementia. Coronation Street’s Richard Hawley took part, as well as Cold Call’s Sally Lindsay, who played Shelley in the long-running soap. John Middleton, whose character Ashley Thomas was diagnosed with young-onset dementia in Emmerdale supported the campaign as well as Tanya Franks, Ackley Bridge’s Jo Joyner and The Long Run’s Kellie Shirley.
The importance of support
Thousands of people are expected to put their best foot forwards and walk in celebration or in memory of a loved one living with the condition, with funds going towards helping Alzheimer’s Society provide vital support, through services such as Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line.
Alzheimer’s Society is facing a blow to income of up to £45 million and its services have been a lifeline for thousands of people during the coronavirus pandemic, used over two million times since lockdown began.
People affected by dementia are in desperate need of support, after being the worst hit by coronavirus in terms of deaths, and due to the knock-on impact of lockdown. Thousands have seen their symptoms increase and mental health deteriorate due to a lack of social contact, routine and interruptions to essential care and support and many families have struggled to cope as a result of care home visitor bans and a lack of respite.
In their own words
'I have had the privilege of being an Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Society for a number of years now. And I know just how enormously dedicated the charity is to helping thousands of people with dementia every year, which has never been more important.
'People living with dementia and their families have been left devastated by coronavirus and we must do everything we can to make sure they get the support they so desperately need.
'I’m proud to see the developments in research, but while we power progress for a cure, everyone affected by dementia must have somewhere to turn to for help and advice, especially at this very difficult time.
'Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line is a lifeline to so many people, but it can only cope with increasing demand through donations, which is why I’m honoured to tie up my laces and take part in Memory Walk.'
'Had the normal Memory Walks taken place this year, it would have been my 10th year attending such an event. While it saddened me that we couldn’t all get together this year, I was determined with my family to walk my own way.
'We can all help make a difference and I encourage you to sign up either with your household – pets included – friends, or another household in line with current government guidelines. Create your own route, from lapping your garden or local park to revisiting somewhere special.'
'Dementia is something that is very personal to me and so I want to do everything I can to help raise awareness of this heart-breaking condition. I’m so proud to be supporting Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk - I’m doing this for my mum and for the 850,000 other people affected by dementia.
'Since mum’s diagnosis, it’s been a huge learning curve for me to be able to understand her condition and how it affects her. When I moved back in with mum during lockdown, I would get so excited over little things she can still remember – those glimmers of my mum’s old self mean the world.'
Kate Lee, Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
'The stark reality is that people with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus, with thousands of deaths leaving behind grief-stricken families. We’re also hearing harrowing accounts of the devastating long-term effects of lockdown on people with dementia and their families and carers, all in desperate need of support during this very uncertain time.
'We are incredibly grateful for the support of our amazing celebrity supporters who have all completed their own Memory Walk in memory or celebration of a loved one with dementia and to everyone who signs up to complete their own Memory Walk this year.
'Wherever you choose to walk, with one single step, you can help us support anyone affected by dementia, whoever they are and whatever they are going through.'