Back in September with local lock-down restrictions the original date for the Memory Walk was postponed but a change in rules meant that the team could get together in small groups to complete the 6 mile walk around Boldon and Cleadon.
Well the weather on Saturday 24th October proved to be mixed – started off dry but then the rain came down for a large part of the walk but even the rain could not deter our walkers. The first group set off at 10.30 am from the Library followed a short time later by the second group. It was a quiet affair as we weren’t allowed to promote crowds to gather but we knew we had the support of other fellow Library Volunteers and local residents judging by the donations people had already given and the feedback on Just Giving and Facebook. There was a rapid clattering of castanets (loaned from the music box for the pre-school activities held in the Library) to sound the start of the walk.
Here are the teams wearing the distinctive Alzheimer’s Society t-shirts and happy smiles – pleased to be able to do the walk and raise awareness for dementia. Teams were armed with collection buckets to hopefully get a few more cash donations en route as we know the folks of Boldon and Cleadon are generous people.
The first stop for a photo was by the sign at West Boldon next to the Post Office, before heading down to the River Don then to Asda. A few cars bleeped as they went by so we knew that we were catching people’s eyes.
The long stretch began on New Road all the way up to Tilesheds then onto Cleadon. The teams passed by Sycamore Care Home – a reminder of why raising awareness of dementia is so important, more so with lock-down as many people living with dementia are feeling isolated as they are not able to see their own families or unsettled by what is happening around them.
A quick photo shoot by the colliery cart at the Community Centre before heading along the busy road and over the lines.
We got a few more bleeps from cars showing their support for our charity walk as well as some extra cash donations from passing cars, others walkers and people standing at the bus stop. A short rest at La Vina marked the 4 mile milestone and of course another photo shoot. The customers and staff at La Vina warmly welcomed the walkers and it was an opportunity to boost the cash donations.
Then the deluge
The weather changed and waterproofs were definitively needed. The last 2 miles saw the walkers head down Whitburn Road and cross the lines at East Boldon station. Passing the shops, and up towards the newly opened No4 Bistro to pick up one of the many collection tins that local businesses had taken to promote the walk, and to get cash donations for the Alzheimer’s Society. Then the walk proceeded along Front Street and obviously had to stop outside the Grey Horse for a photo as it is such a local landmark. The sight of the collection bucket saw customers at the Grey Horse put their hands in their pockets to help the cause. Then the last leg of the walk was a brisk couple of minutes towards the Library for (you guessed it) the final photo shoot .
6 Miles Walked!
The two teams were pleased to have done the 6 miles, and for their reward received a Memory Walk medal! Yet the biggest achievement and more importantly was raising a fantastic sum for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Two of the original team, Fiona and John, were unable to join us on the day due to prior commitments and because the re-arranged date was quickly suggested, agreed and set before Covid rules changed, so they will be doing the 6 mile walk as a mini team later in the week – pictures will be popping up on the Library’s Facebook pages.
Smashing Our Target
We had originally set a target to raise £1,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society. We have now done our final count and with online donations through JustGiving, cash sponsorships, money put into collection tins and from the collection buckets whilst on the walk itself, we have raised £4,000. Absolutely amazing!
Miriam, one of the Volunteer Walkers, who organised the walk, would like to personally thank the other walkers – Sue, Amanda, Arthur, Philippa, Sarah, Norma, Sue, Fiona and John for taking the time and effort for the walk but also their enthusiasm in getting sponsors as it has really made a huge difference to the fundraising.
Whilst the Volunteers may have done the walk, we would like to say a gigantic thank you to everyone. It has been a real community effort from those that have given cash online through our JustGiving page, pledged Gift Aid, and those who handed over hard cash; also the contestants of our Virtual Balloon Race which added another £111 to the funds.
Supporting a Great Cause
Also a big hand to all the local businesses and groups who supported us either by displaying posters about the walk, taking in collection tins, opening their doors to let the walkers have a rest or “use the facilities” plus the many Facebook groups who carried our postings to keep everyone updated on the progress of our fundraising and the walk itself. Here are snapshots of some of our supporters – the full list is long and is at the end of the article.
The monies raised from the Memory Walk will be invaluable to the Alzheimer’s Society whether it is used to fund support services which strive to ensure nobody should have to face dementia alone; aid the awareness campaign for dementia and the effects it has on people living with dementia and their carers; or to go towards research to help improve care, and work towards to a cure for dementia.
If you have not yet donated there is still time, our JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thelibrary is open up to 31st October. Alternatively, if you have a smart phone use the QR Code, simply open the camera on your mobile point it at the image of the QR Code and it will take you straight to the page on Just Giving.
Our local supporters
La Vina, The Grey Horse, West Boldon Post Office, Boldon Community Centre, Black Horse, Boldon Cricket & Squash Club, N°4 Bistro, The Britannia Inn, Sycamore Care Home, St Nicholas’ West Boldon, Cleadon & District Rotary Club, Boldon Born and Bred, East Boldon Forum, West Boldon Residents’ Association, East Boldon Village Pharmacy, Boldon Lawn Tennis Club at East Boldon, Partners Hairdressing, Jan Watters Florist, Greenfingers Nurseries, Kymel Trading Ltd, Cohens Chemist, Steve’s News, St Nicholas’ Hedworth Lane, Friends of East Boldon Parks, Cleadon Village Pharmacy, West Boldon Primary School, Cleadon Methodist Church, Linda Leary Estate Agents, East Boldon Residents, Asda, Coffee Station, Alzheimer’s Society North East, Cleadon Residents Association, St George’s East Boldon, Pride in East Boldon, Blossoms & Bows, Bon Appetite Café, Deli & Gifts, Cleadon Dental Practice and Howard and George for the photos.
The Library’s Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/154398761925910/
For more information on dementia and support available visit the Alzheimer’s Society website https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/