MORE than 4,000 people came together to unite against dementia at the Leeds Memory Walk at Temple Newsam.
They walked side by side today (Sat Sept 22) to pay tribute to or remember loved ones affected by the condition.
Leeds Memory Walk raised funds for Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia charity.
Mum-of-two Nena Haseltine, of Temple Newsam, whose grandfather Billy Rayner, 89, is living with vascular dementia, cut the ribbon to start the walk.
Nena, a member of Alzheimer’s Society’s West Yorkshire United Against Dementia fundraising group, said: “It’s a real honour to be asked to officially get the walk underway.
“My grandfather would be very proud of me. We are very close and I have lovely memories of him growing up.
“He’s in a care home now but I see him as often as I can and my dad visits him every day. He has good days and bad.”
There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, an estimated 8,497 of them in Leeds – and more than 67,000 across the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Meanwhile, the national figure is set to exceed one million by 2021.
Charli Hitch, events officer for Memory Walk, said: “I’m thrilled to see so many people at this year’s Memory Walk.
“Dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes.
“I am so glad that more than 4,000 people from across Yorkshire stepped out to improve the lives of people living with the condition.
“Dementia devastates lives; it slowly strips people of their memories, relationships and identities.
“Every pound raised will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.
“Alzheimer’s Society is committed to spending at least £150 million over the next decade on dementia research to improve care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”
Last year’s event at Temple Newsam raised more than £255,000.
The charity hopes this year' s Memory Walk will at leas match or even exceed last year’s total.
A total of 40 flagship walks are taking place during this month and next, or people can organise one of their own.
To find out more about the remaining walks, g too www.memorywalk.org.uk