Kind hearted hospital staff put their best feet forward in aid of a dementia charity.
The 27-strong team of walkers from Spire Yale Hospital in Wrexham aim to raise more than £1,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
The cause was close to the hearts of a number of them, including the private hospital’s Matron, Linda Jones.
According to Linda, the five-mile Memory Walk which started in Gresford was also designed to raise awareness about the cruel condition.
It was one of a number of walks taking place across the UK in support of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Linda said: “My friend, Ella, was diagnosed with dementia. She is in her 80s and has had to move into residential care which has been distressing for her family.
“It’s been difficult and sad watching the condition progress and her condition worsen. I decided to organise the event and discovered so many other members of staff have, and still are, been affected by the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
“We did have a £1,000 target but we have smashed that although I’m not quite sure yet what the final figure will be.
“We started at the Plough Inn at Gresford and the landlord handed us a £50 cheque which was incredibly generous.
“The walk took in Gresford, Marford and Rossett with plenty of refreshment stops en route!
“We finished at the Golden Lion Rossett where another generous £50 donation was presented to the team by the manager, Alan Perrington.
But it’s not just about raising money, although that’s vitally important, it’s also about raising awareness of the condition not just among our staff but the public too.”
Linda, of Wrexham, says Spire Yale Hospital is dementia-friendly and the majority of staff have received the relevant training to help them treat the increasing number of people they see with the condition.
She added: “It can be difficult for staff and the patients themselves and it’s vital we ensure our facilities are safe and suitable to care for people suffering from dementia.
“We want to be in a position to treat everyone at Spire Yale including people suffering dementia, as they suffer the same ailments as everyone else, they can all benefit from being treated at a first class private hospital.”
Hospital engineer Dave Broderick, of Llay, wanted to take part as his father had dementia at the time of his death and his friend has also been diagnosed with dementia.
He said: “I was more than happy to join in the walk and to collect what cash I could while also raising awareness of what is a devastating condition.
“My father, Dave Broderick, was a former mayor of Wrexham who received the MBE. He welcomed the Queen to Wrexham many years ago.
“He was diagnosed with dementia and sadly passed away after a fall which probably happened due to the dementia anyway.
“Now my friend has the condition too. It’s a terrible condition and something we need to raise money to tackle and also raise awareness of. I always try and support fundraising events at the hospital when I can.
He added: “I’m the only man taking part as there are far more women employed at hospital than men and the other guys are either working or unable to take part in the walk for other reasons.”
Theatre assistant Eirlys Uttley, of Wrexham, said: “My dad, who is 85, has vascular dementia after being diagnosed 10 years ago. It’s terrible to see your dad, husband, brother or anyone else slowly go until, sadly, your left with just a shell.
“We were lucky we had good care and treatment at Wrexham Maelor Hospital but there was nothing they could really do to stop the condition progressing although they did give invaluable advice on how to manage the condition.
“It’s harder for my mum, they have been married for more than 60 years, as he doesn’t recognise her anymore. There just isn’t any quality of life and that’s no reflection on the residential home.”
She added: “That’s why I’m taking part in the sponsored walk with my daughter. I also think it’s vital we raise awareness of the condition.
“I would urge anyone who thinks there may be a problem with a relative or family member to get it checked out as soon as possible. The earlier a diagnosis is made the easier it is to manage the condition.”
Theatre practitioner Lindsey Edge-Smith, of Wrexham, was walking in honour of her aunt who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when still in her 50s.
She said: “It was terrible. We knew there was something wrong but we never quite knew what. We didn’t think about dementia or Alzheimer’s as she was so young. However, she died around 10 years after being diagnosed.
“It’s devastating for the whole family and was very difficult for her husband who cared for her. It’s worse because you can see the condition taking a greater hold as time goes on.”
Russell Smith, the landlord at The Plough Inn, Gresford landlord, was delighted the walk set off from his pub.
He said: “I hope they raise as much as possible while getting the message across on how important early diagnosis is.”
The Griffin Inn in Trevalyn had also been raising funds for the team by selling cakes during the week leading up to the walk and this was appreciated by everyone involved.
Spire Yale Hospital director, Sue Jones, says research by the Alzheimer’s Society shows that as many as 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, rising to a million in less than 10 years.
She said: “I’m delighted so many Spire Yale staff took part in the walk and raised more than £1,000 in the process.
“I’m aware many staff members have seen first-hand the effects of dementia as members of their own families or close friends have been diagnosed with the condition.”
She added: “We have a role to play at Spire Yale in raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia and the devastating effect it can have on families.
“I’m so pleased to see so many of our caring staff took part in the Memory Walk and it underlines the fact we really do have a first-class team of caring individuals working here at Spire Yale.”
For more information go to www.memorywalk.org.uk/