Havant schoolgirl conquers 50-mile walking challenge to beat dementia in memory of veteran great-grandad
A SERIES of walks saw a young girl tackle 50 miles to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society in memory of her veteran great-grandad.
Six-year-old Ava Combes took on a memory walk to support the charity, joining thousands of others across the UK taking part in the event.
Supported by her uncle Ashley Hards, Havant resident Ava wanted her walks to help stop dementia in its tracks after losing her great-grandad Bud Macleod to the condition.
Ava raised more than £2,000 after clocking up 50 miles over a series of nine walks.
The young charity supporter said: ‘I’m very proud of myself and really happy that I managed to raise so much money.
‘I chose Alzheimer's Society because of my great grandad and also because my nanny works with patients who have the condition.’
Bud, an army veteran who lived in Havant, died in 2017 at the age of 82.
Ava’s uncle Ashley said: ‘Sadly, Bud had already been diagnosed when Ava was just a baby, but he loved spending time with her.
‘Ava was young when her great grandad died and would often cry and ask to go and see him. She understands a bit more about it now and often says that he is a bright star up in the sky.’
Kind donors supported Ava throughout, including a £500 donation from Havant-based Stag Security.
Ashley said: ‘As a family we are incredibly proud of Ava and the compassion she has shown. She is an incredibly special and caring young lady, and the amount she has raised is way beyond our expectations.
‘Her family and friends have been incredibly generous and supportive. Even strangers have donated and wished Ava well.’
Ava’s commitment comes at a critical time for those affected by dementia, as this group has been hit hard by coronavirus in terms of deaths, both from the virus and knock-on effects of lockdown.
Linda Goddard, Alzheimer’s Society area manager, said: ‘I want to say thank you to Ava and everyone taking part in a walking event for us. People affected by dementia need us now more than ever.
‘We are in awe of the resilience of supporters like Ava whose dedication to raising vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society ensures that we are able to support those who need it most during this difficult period.’