TV’s biggest stars are putting their best foot forward this Autumn, joining thousands in support of Alzheimer’s Society’s flagship fundraising event Memory Walk, sponsored by Santander, taking place throughout September and October 2021.
Famous faces are backing the public who are taking part to raise vital funds for people affected by dementia, many of whom are in desperate need of support in the wake of the pandemic.
Line of Duty star and Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Vicky McClure will be taking part in a Memory Walk local to her and urging others to do the same.
Comedic legends Hugh Dennis and John Bishop will also be supporting Memory Walk and Only Fools and Horses’ favourite, Sue Holderness will be taking part in memory of her late mother.
Actor Sally Lindsay who starred in Still Open All Hours and has recently finished filming her latest project, will be attending a walk, in memory of her grandmother.
Memory Walk also has the backing of Olympic Gold medallist, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Thousands of people are expected to walk in celebration or in memory of a loved one living with dementia, with the leading dementia charity hosting 20 organised walks across the UK from Brighton to Newcastle.
People can also organise their own Memory Walk at a time and location of their choice with a group of close friends and family.
However people choose to take part, money raised will help Alzheimer’s Society continue to support the 850,000 people with dementia through its vital services (like the Dementia Connect support line) which have been used over five and a half million times since March 2020.
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Santander UK brand ambassador, said: ‘It’s fantastic that Memory Walk events on location are back after a year break because of Covid, alongside the option to take part in your own organised walk.
‘I hope everyone signs up to one of this Autumn’s events, and has a wonderful time together again getting out and about while also raising money for this very special cause.
‘I’m proud to support Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk, sponsored by Santander, to ensure nobody affected by dementia goes without the help they so urgently need.’
Vicky McClure 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.’
Actor and comedian Hugh Dennis said: ‘It’s very exciting that Memory Walk events are back – you just can’t beat that amazing feeling of walking with other people for such an important cause. People with dementia have been badly hit by coronavirus, so please take part in Memory Walk and help Alzheimer’s Society continue to support people with dementia and their families when it has never been more needed.’
Comedian John Bishop said: ‘I’m walking for everyone living with dementia, I’m walking for the carers who are struggling to cope and for the researchers who are working tirelessly for a breakthrough. I hope everyone takes part in Memory Walk this year, so together, we will walk towards a future without dementia.’
Actor Sue Holderness said: ‘I’ll be walking in memory of my darling mum and for the 850,000 people living with dementia today in the UK. It’s lovely jubbly that people have a choice to take part in a local event or take on their own Memory Walk this year – all that matters is that as many people as possible get involved and raise as much money as possible, with every step counting towards a world without dementia.’
Actor and Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Sally Lindsay said: ‘When my beautiful gran Ellen had dementia, it was absolutely devastating for the family watching her slowly decline to the point where she started not to recognise us. My heart really goes out to the families whose loved ones went downhill so dramatically or tragically passed away during lockdown. It is so important to know you are not alone.’
Dancer and choreographer, Dame Arlene Phillips, is supporting this campaign in memory of her late father, Abraham, who had Alzheimer’s.
Dame Arlene Philips said: ‘I am proud to be supporting these walks in memory of my wonderful dad who had dementia. Caring for someone with dementia is a full-time job and the pandemic made everything so much more challenging – disrupting routines, people being left having to care from a distance and essential care and support being reduced.
‘Raising whatever you can through Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walks will help make a huge difference to thousands of lives, it’s not too late to sign up!’
Game of Thrones villain Iwan Rheon lends his support in tribute to his Nain, Beryl, who sadly died from vascular dementia in 2008.
Iwan Rheon said: ‘Dementia is something that hits close to home and so I’ll definitely be digging out my Memory Walk t-shirt in time for September! As always, I’ll be walking in memory of my Nain, Beryl who had vascular dementia. I hope that the more we talk about this heart-breaking condition and the more we can raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society, the more we can make a difference to the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and their families.’
People affected by dementia, worst hit by coronavirus, face a difficult road to recovery as a result of thousands having symptoms increase and mental health deteriorating due to a lack of social contact, routine and interruptions to essential care and support.
In addition, this caused 50,000 to go undiagnosed, unable to get the help and support that is most effective the earlier you get it. Alzheimer’s Society’s crucial work has never been more needed.
Kate Lee, CEO at Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘We are so grateful for the support of our wonderful celebrity supporters who all have their own personal reason for backing Memory Walk. Not only has the pandemic left a gaping hole in the hearts of thousands of grieving families, many are also struggling to cope watching their surviving loved one become a shell of the person they once were.
‘Whether you decide to take part in one of the 20 organised walks, or decide to walk with a small group of friends and family in your local area, all that matters is that we unite against dementia and continue to support people who need it most.’