COMMENT: The pebbles may be small, but their impact is large

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Sometimes seemingly small actions can have far-reaching consequences. Metaphorically speaking, it’s like the spreading ripples from a pebble thrown into a lake.

However, in this case, the pebbles are real, and they have not been thrown into the water, but left on the beach for others to find.

Jacquie Williams has painted inspirational messages on to dozens of pebbles and scattered them around Stokes Bay in Gosport in a bid to help others who may be going through tough times.

Jacquie came up with the idea as a response to her mother’s worsening Alzheimer’s, and has been taken aback by the positive reception it has received as people have been posting and sharing pictures of the pebbles on social media.

Alzheimer’s mainly affects people over 65 – one in six over 80 will develop it – but there are 40,000 people in the UK under 65 with it as well.

It is a cruel condition and anyone who has experienced it up close in friends or family will know the effects – loved ones gradually turn into strangers, while the sufferer becomes increasingly trapped in their diminishing world.

As Jacquie says of her mother: ‘Sometimes we will go to see her and she won’t recognise us – so we all have to battle it with her, together.’

As with many other conditions or diseases relating to the mind, there still remains a degree of stigma attached. Anything that gets people talking about it can only be a good thing.

With pictures of Jacquie’s painted pebbles being shared again and again on social media, those ripples will only continue to spread.

She is planning to spread more pebbles over the summer – so keep your eye out, and remember why they are there.