Step by step, loved ones reflect on precious times: A sea of purple for first Memory Walk of the summer

Celia and William Steen. William has Dementia, and used to work for DC Thomson. (Andrew Cawley, DC Thomson)
Celia and William Steen. William has Dementia, and used to work for DC Thomson. (Andrew Cawley, DC Thomson)

THERE were people as far as the eye could see yesterday as the first Memory Walk of the year took place in Milngavie, near Glasgow.

Those living with dementia walked alongside folk who have lost a loved one to the condition or know someone affected by dementia, turning Milngavie Water Works into a sea of purple.

Another 16 Memory Walks will take place throughout Scotland next month and, as the event’s media partner, The Sunday Post is encouraging all our readers to get involved.

Yesterday was Geraldine Eardley’s third Memory Walk but the first since her dad, Andy Watt, passed away last October.

“He would usually have been back at my house, where my husband would be cooking, waiting for us to come back from the walk,” Geraldine said.

“Around 20 of us took part and we’re doing it both for him and Alzheimer Scotland, who I can’t praise enough.

“They were with us every step of the way, from the initial shock of the diagnosis all the way through.”

Andy served in the Army and later joined the fire brigade, becoming station officer in Knightswood, Glasgow. After retiring in his mid-50s, he and Geraldine’s mum, Rose, became professional child-minders for the next 20 years.

“Mum died in 2009 and Dad was diagnosed with dementia four years ago,” Geraldine continued.

Geraldine Eardley, and her family and friends who are doing the walk in memory of her father, Andy. (Andrew Cawley, DC Thomson)
Geraldine Eardley, and her family and friends who are doing the walk in memory of her father, Andy. (Andrew Cawley, DC Thomson)

Andy was stubborn, but he loved nothing more than being around family. “Mum and Dad had seven kids – including two sets of twins – and 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren,” Geraldine added. “He was in his element when his great-grandkids were around him.

“He lived at home until the end, when he had a heart attack and died very peacefully, aged 81.

“He was a lucky man and we were lucky to have him and Mum.”

Reverend Douglas Campbell of Milngavie United Free Church walked with his wife, Honor, in memory of his mum, Audrey Campbell.

Audrey passed away last month following a stroke.

She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s six years ago, but Douglas believes the symptoms began four years earlier.

“Mum was a retired primary one teacher and that part of her never left her – and neither did her humour,” Douglas recalled.

“She was from the south side of Glasgow and, although she lived in Dunblane, she still had that Glaswegian humour and was as sharp as a tack.

“One time in hospital, the nurse was checking her over and said ‘can I get your arm’, and as quick as you like my mum responded, ‘no, but you can get a loan of it’!”

Celia and William Steen also pulled on their walking shoes yesterday. William was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago and Celia describes the period since as a “whirlwind”.

“He was made redundant nearly five years ago and I noticed wee silly things he was doing and saying,” Celia explained.

After seeing his GP, William, 63, was referred for tests and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Celia has had to reduce her working hours to be there for William, but the couple have also had great support from Alzheimer Scotland.

“William attends the Football Memories group in Bishopbriggs, where we live, and attends the day centre two days a week.

“This is our first Memory Walk and we just wanted to give something back to the charity.”

 

Memory Walks

 

Memory Walks will take place at 17 locations throughout Scotland in August and September.

The walks are perfect for all ages and abilities, and give families the chance to come together and pay tribute to someone close to them.

Registration for a Memory Walk is £10 for adults, £5 for 12-16 year-olds and under-12s walk for free.

Visit memorywalksscotland.org to find out more and to register.

If you are interested in volunteering, more information can be found at memorywalksscotland.org/volunteer or by calling

0131 243 1453

If you have any questions about dementia or the services in your area, call Alzheimer Scotland’s free 24-hour helpline on 0808 808 3000 or email helpline@alzscot.org

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