Ex-mayor’s walk in husband Alan’s memory

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Former Garstang mayor Sandra Perkins is uniting against dementia and taking on Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk to remember her husband Alan who she lost to Pick’s disease, a form of dementia.

Alan was diagnosed with dementia at 60 and died when he was 72 years old.

Sandra was Alan’s carer for eight years before he went into a care home full time when he was in the advanced stages of the illness.

Caring for Alan inspired Sandra to raise awareness of dementia not only by setting up her own dementia café in Garstang but more recently by signing up for Alzheimer’s Society’s Blackpool Memory Walk on October 8.

Sandra said: “When Alan went into care I needed to do something to make the time without him more pleasurable. I was co-opted onto the town council and eventually became mayor.

“Alan died and during my year as Garstang’s first citizen I raised £3,000 for Dementia Research and £1,000 for a teenage respite facility.

“One of the events was having my head shaved which was quite traumatic for a 68-year-old. It was then I decided that I would try to start a Memory Cafe as a lasting memorial to Alan.”

Age is no barrier to Sandra, who has kept herself active since losing Alan. She is also a Dementia Friends Champion and promotes Join Dementia Research, having donated Alan’s brain and spinal cord for research.

She said: “I am 72 and will be another year older the week after the Memory Walk. However, it’s the old story, I don’t feel my age as I am a great believer that age is only a number. Although I have hip and knee replacements I am always up for a challenge and the Memory Walk will really push me out of my comfort zone. This is for a very good cause indeed and I am urging other’s to come forward and join me in the fight against dementia by signing up for Blackpool Memory walk now.”

Around 16,280 people are living with dementia in Lancashire.

Deborah Parker, Alzheimer’s Society operations manager for Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. We are calling on family, friends – and furry four-legged supporters – to unite against dementia this autumn. Dementia devastates lives. Walk with us at Memory Walk and dementia won’t win.

“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.

Register at memorywalk.org.uk.