WATCH: More than 1,700 join former Eastenders star for Leamington dementia walk
More than 1,700 people joined former Eastenders star Jo Joyner for a dementa walk in Leamington at the weekend.
The Ackley Bridge star cut the ribbon to start Leamington's Memory Walk at 11.00am on Saturday (October 7) accompanied by her family and members of her village.
Jo gave an opening speech where she recounted the challenges her family had faced when her grandmother developed dementia.
Jo Joyner said: “My Nana lived with us and sadly had dementia. She lost her ability to speak as the condition took its toll.
"I love a good walk at the weekend and I have the whole family here, including the family dog, as well as some members of my village too in support of Team Dorris. We have raised over Â£800 and I think events such as Memory Walk are great fun. We are here today to raise money, hopefully lots of money, to care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow.”
Walkers gathered in Victoria Park and decorated a Memory Tree with written tags that were addressed to loved ones.
There were two different lengths for walkers to undertake: a 1.5km route or a 5.5km route.
Many walkers had decorated their t-shirts with mementos of people they were walking to remember. Once the walk was completed, participants were handed medals as they crossed the finish line and Jo Joyner helped distribute them.
The Mayor of Leamington, Cllr Caroline Evetts, was also at the event.
She said: “Alzheimer's Society is one of my chosen mayoral charities. I hope people will find compassion and companionship here today. Raising money and awareness is an important part of Memory Walk and people need to be aware that there is support out there for people living with dementia.”
This was the first Memory Walk held in Leamington and there was an upbeat atmosphere as people of all ages came together to fundraise for Alzheimer's Society and raise awareness about dementia.
Janice Le Tellier, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer.
“I am so glad that people from Leamington and across Warwickshire stepped out in their thousands to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
“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.
“As an organisation we are committed to spending at least Â£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 huge success.”