A sea of blue decorated the surroundings of Willen Lake in Milton Keynes, as walkers came in their branded t-shirts with messages and images of loved ones, or words of support for the cause, pinned to them.
The get-together on Saturday marked a welcome return for Alzheimer’s Society’s hugely popular Memory Walk, which had to be cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
Among them was Karen Fanning, walking with her dog Peggy in memory of her husband, Rio.
The Northamptonshire actress was asked to cut this year’s ribbon at the starting line. She said: “It was such a special day to be a part of and Peggy loved all the attention too.
“I want to thank Alzheimer’s Society for helping me to remember Rio in this exceptional way. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease towards the end of his life but I saw the changes in him over time.
“He was a very clever man with a great sense humour. It was heart-breaking to see him lose the ability of things he loved the most, especially writing.
“I’ve had wonderful support for this walk from family and friends, who have helped me raise over £1,200 for the cause.”
Those taking part completed either a short 3km walk, taking a gentle stroll around the lake, or the longer 5km walk which took participants on a full loop of the lake, including some woodland paths. The fundraisers stepped out to stop dementia in its tracks after a devastating period for those living with the disease.
People affected by dementia, worst hit by coronavirus, face a difficult road to recovery due to a lack of social contact, routine and interruptions to essential care and support. Alzheimer’s Society’s crucial work has never been needed more.
Marion Child, Alzheimer’s Society’s Head of Service, said: “We are in awe of our incredible fundraisers who turned out in their hundreds to support people living with dementia.
“It was extremely moving to see so many people come together to honour or remember their loved ones.
“The pandemic has been catastrophic for people with dementia, with Alzheimer’s Society’s services, like our Dementia Connect support line, used over six million times since lockdown began in March 2020.
“Every pound raised from the Milton Keynes walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”
Visit memorywalk.org.uk to find out more about the remaining Memory Walk events or to organise your own Memory Walk at a location and time of your choosing.