You may have seen the current TV and press ads for Alzheimer’s Society’s upcoming Memory Walks. But what is a Memory Walk and how can you get involved?
Memory Walks take place in September and October each year, and are simply walking routes organised by Alzheimer’s Society across England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Alzheimer’s Scotland also runs similar walks in Scotland). People come together to walk and raise money to help support dementia research. They’re a great opportunity to get fit, remember your loved ones and raise much-needed funds at the same time.
The route lengths vary, but most range between 2-5km, and most are accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. They often take place in public parks so are safe and picturesque at the same time. Alzheimer’s Society has set a fundraising goal for each walker of £160, but you are of course welcome to raise as much as you can! You can find a list of all the planned walks across the UK here.
You’ll be in good company, as a whole host of well-known faces are also taking part in the walks including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, John Bishop, Vicky McClure, Hugh Dennis, Sally Lindsay, Sue Holderness, Iwan Rheon, Kevin Whately and Dame Arlene Phillips. Vicky McClure, star of Line of Duty, said: ‘Last year, while we couldn’t walk together in person, I was determined that my family and I would walk in memory of my nana locally anyway, and I was in awe of the sheer number of people who also stepped onto their local streets to raise vital funds for the charity.
‘This year, I am delighted to say that people can again unite at 20 locations across the UK, to create new memories together and support the 850,000 people with dementia.’
For those who can’t find a walk near them there is the option to create your own walk. You can find out more and register for a fundraising pack here.
Alzheimer’s Society is also looking for volunteers to help out with the organised walks – something you might be interested in doing if you can’t take part in the walk itself. Duties might include selling merchandise, manning the Information and Memory Tag gazebos, and handing out medals to all the walkers. On the route, volunteers support in making sure the walkers are safe and heading in the right direction, as well as keeping them motivated with big cheers! Volunteer Jo Ferguson, who has marshalled at a recent Memory Walk, said “The atmosphere was so electric and empowering. If you know someone who has been affected by dementia, then you will find nothing more therapeutic than volunteering at a Memory Walk.” Sign up to volunteer at your local memory walk here.
Covid-wise, the organisers have made sure that the walks are as safe as possible. Walkers are assigned ‘waves’ which set off at different times to ensure groups are well spaced. Hand sanitisers are available along the route, and there will be queueing and one-way systems in places such as the merchandise tents.
Inspired? Grab your trainers and let us know which walk you’re doing and who you’re doing it with (go as a team, it’s more fun!).