Thousands walk along Southsea seafront in bid to beat Alzheimer’s

DETERMINED walkers braved the rain on the Southsea seafront in a bid to beat dementia.

More than 2,300 people joined together outside Southsea Castle on Saturday morning to take part in a sponsored Memory Walk in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Walkers stride out to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society at Castle Field, Southsea

Walkers stride out to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society at Castle Field, Southsea

Among them was Alzheimer sufferer Andrew McCall who was there to complete the walk. He also cut the ribbon alongside the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lee Mason at the start line for the 3.5km and 7km walks.

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The 75-year-old Gosport resident, who was diagnosed three years ago, said: ‘I think everyone taking part is amazing. It’s a really good way of drawing attention to what the society is doing.

‘It’s wonderful to see so much support for the cause.’

Cutting the ribbon to start the walk (centre, from left) The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth,  Cllr Lee Mason, Andrew McCall and Caroline Dinenage MP Minister of State for Care.

Cutting the ribbon to start the walk (centre, from left) The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Lee Mason, Andrew McCall and Caroline Dinenage MP Minister of State for Care.

His wife Gaby, 70, added: ‘We’ve been involved in these Memory Walks since Andrew was diagnosed, but we’ve done them in Brighton before. It’s such a great thing to take part in.’

Organiser Gemma Angell-Cole, from the Alzheimer’s Society, was hopeful as much money as possible would be brought in from sponsorships.  ‘We’re hoping to raise about £250,000 for the society today, and I think we can do it,’ she said.

‘It is a really lovely atmosphere. We’ve held Memory Walks in Southsea before but this is the first time people have the option of a 19km walk. Those walkers were here first thing this morning – there were about 660 of them.’ 

Prior to the walk participants were able to hang the names of loved ones on a memory tree and take part in Zumba dance exercises to get warmed up.

Participants in the Memory Walk in aid of the Alzheimer's Society

Participants in the Memory Walk in aid of the Alzheimer's Society

It is hoped Memory Walks across the UK this year will generate a total of £9m for the Alzheimer’s Society. 

Volunteer stewards, from left: Sakura Iwami, Kaho Oyanagi, Aya Kato (front), Sawa Miyazaki  and Rinka Veki, all students from Japan studying at the University of Portsmouth

Volunteer stewards, from left: Sakura Iwami, Kaho Oyanagi, Aya Kato (front), Sawa Miyazaki and Rinka Veki, all students from Japan studying at the University of Portsmouth