Jay’s Alexandra Park memory walk is a huge success

A ‘memory’ walk in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society held in Alexandra Park on Saturday has smashed its fundraising target.

More than 30 people took part in the walk which had set a goal of raising £500, the current total stands at over £700 with further donations still expected to arrive through the ‘just giving’ page that was set up specially for the event.  http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jay-kramer3

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Saturday proved to be a great day for a walk in the park.

Jay Kramer organised the walk in memory of her mother Olwen. Jay saw her own life transformed by her mother’s dementia and it’s this that has motivated her to try to make a positive difference: “Many of us have been affected by dementia through parents, grandparents, partners and friends,” says Jay.

Saturday’s fine weather was ideal for the walk: “It was a lovely sunny day and the majority of people on the walk have had relatives or friends with dementia.
In memory of my mother both her daughters – me and my sister Ann – were there, her granddaughter Sarah and her children – Olwen’s great grandchildren – Lilly-Grace and Alfred all took part,” Jay said

She tried to create a special atmosphere around the event and tied balloons round the cafe in Alexandra Park and the children taking part had balloons and were wearing ‘Memory Walk’ t-shirts.

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Hastings’ Deputy Mayor James Bacon spoke to the walkers and is pictured here with Jay, her daughter Sarah and grandson Alfred.

“At the very same time as our walk was happening, Louise’s daughter Kate and two sons Kaya and Sami were walking in Istanbul, so we were very international and they sent us over a video,” says Jay.

“We had whistles and bells and cheering sticks and Deputy Mayor James Bacon spoke really well about dementia and the need to raise money for research and support for families affected by it. I spoke about the fact that the Alzheimer’s Society used Olwen’s story in a personal letter from me which was sent out to encourage people to organise their own memory walks,” Jay told Hastings In Focus.

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Jay gets a congratulatory hug from her partner Roger Macmillan.

There are an estimated 800 Memory Walks organised by people on a local level around the UK and about 100 of them can be attributed to Jay’s letter which is a great source of pride to her as she sees it as a great legacy left by her mother Olwen.

In addition to the 800 or so smaller walks The Alzheimer’s Society organise their own really much bigger walks in major cities including London, Brighton and Bristol.

Jay says: “Next year will be the fourth walk and it will probably take place around the half-term week at the end of October. Holding it earlier this year though meant the weather was much milder.”

She was delighted too by the number of people in the park on the day who showed an interest in what they were doing and why: “People came up and spoke to us at the cafe and some gave donations and we gave them a leaflet explaining what we were doing and why. We now have a mailing list of people who attended so we will be able to build on the numbers for next year,” Jay says.

Mr Bacon told Hastings In Focus: “Jay has made a huge difference to the lives of others by using her own experiences. It is vital that funds are raised to help those affected by dementia and I would like to thank Jay for organising this Memory Walk in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.”

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