TV presenter completes memory walk after dad, from Gosport, diagnosed with dementia

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TELEVISION presenter Davina McCall raised awareness for dementia by taking part in a memory walk.

The fitness guru joined the fundraising event organised by the Alzheimer’s Society after her dad Andrew, from Gosport, was diagnosed with the condition.

Davina McCall with her father Andrew and his wife Gaby. Picture: Grant Melton/Alzheimer's Society.

Davina McCall with her father Andrew and his wife Gaby. Picture: Grant Melton/Alzheimer's Society.

Davina laced up her trainers to do the walk in Brighton, along with Andrew and his wife Gaby, just a week after thousands of people from Portsmouth took part in the Southsea event.

She said: ‘My dad has always been my rock. He’s way smarter than me, funnier, stronger. I’ve always slightly hero-worshipped him.

‘When he started saying funny things like “I took the overland train” and “Call me when your work is less explosive”, it didn’t take us long to all come together and ask if we should be concerned.

‘I have grieved the loss of my old dad. But we are forging a new relationship, a different one – one where perhaps he might need me more.

‘Our dynamic has changed, but he’s still my dad.’

Davina and her family appeared in a video posted on the Alzheimer’s Society YouTube channel ahead of the Brighton event as part of their help in promoting the memory walks which took place in 34 places across the country. Walkers raise money for the charity to help support people living with dementia.

Davina added: ‘Taking part in the memory walk is a great way to come together and show each other support.

‘As a family, we fundraised to support the work of Alzheimer’s Society. Seeing the number of people affected by dementia all coming together to support each other and fundraise was important.’

Speaking for the first time about developing dementia, Andrew said his family noticed the signs before he did. He was diagnosed two years ago, aged 73.

The former events organiser for Portsmouth Harbour Authority said: ‘My family tell me that occasional memory lapses associated with age became more frequent and more short-term. Then I began searching for everyday words that would normally have been easy to retrieve from my memory.

‘That’s when I realised that this was more than just the natural decline in memory.

‘As a family we think it is important to join together and support the work of the Alzheimer’s Society.

‘The memory walk is a great place to start.’