Fearless grandad Fred Walker will soon embark on an adrenaline-fuelled wing walk in memory of his late wife to raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The 78-year-old will be strapped to a 1940s bi-plane after casually dropping the idea into conversation on live radio when asked what his next big challenge will be to raise the profile of dementia research.
Fred, who lives in Sale, is no stranger to conquering jaw-dropping challenges having taken on a 14,000ft sky dive with members of his family when he was 74 and climbed Mount Snowdon, aged 73.
All of his fundraising efforts have been in memory of his wife of 46-years Joan Walker, who died with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010, aged 70.
A Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK, Fred has three grown up children and six grandchildren. He explains his reason for supporting the national dementia research charity:
“I think it is important to continue to get the message out there about the effects of dementia, not just on the individual but their loved ones as well. If more people know what to look for in terms of the symptoms then people can be diagnosed more quickly and receive the most appropriate care.
“By the time we realised something serious was wrong and Joan received the diagnosis, it was too late to do anything – Alzheimer’s had taken its hold. The problem is that unless you have some previous personal experience of Alzheimer’s you don’t know the tell-tale signs and then it’s too late.
“We’d be walking through the shopping centre together and Joan would just vanish without saying a word. I thought she was exerting her independence at first but later in the disease she would get nervous walking up stairs or over gravelly surfaces. She would have problems dressing and undressing and ultimately eating.”
The wing walk, which Fred has dubbed a ‘walk in the park’ will take place on 15 May 2016 at Breighton Aerodrome, Bubwith, near Selby.
Lucy Squance, Head of Community and Sporting Events at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We are delighted to see Fred taking on his latest daring challenge for us and appreciate his continued support in raising both vital funds and awareness of the devastating effects of dementia.
“There are 850,000 people across the UK living with dementia today. Research has the power to defeat dementia and Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading the way with this. We rely on public donations and it’s thanks to people like Fred, that we can provide crucial resources for our scientists and fund world-class research, driving the next breakthrough.”
To sponsor Fred’s Wing Walk please visit www.justgiving.com/Fred-Wing-Walker . For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org.