MUSICIAN Andy Huntley has gone the extra mile to raise money for people with dementia and their carers at the Alzheimer’s Society Cardiff Memory Walk. He joined 1,300 people who united against dementia for the charity’s flagship fundraising walk at Bute Park, Cardiff.

Andy cut the ribbon to begin the event as walkers turned the park blue to remember and support loved ones affected by dementia.

He said: “Two years ago my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It is the most cruel and heartbreaking disease and the world desperately needs a cure. The Alzheimer’s Society have helped us all, especially my dad who now cares for my mum. They help with everything from advice in getting the right care and funding to even just being on the other end of the phone to listen.”

Andy has released the charity single Find Yourself with profits from sales and streams going to Alzheimer’s Society. He is aiming to raise £100,000.

Student Beth Fry, from Cardiff, joined Andy to cut the ribbon. Beth walked in memory of her grandad, along with her boyfriend Will Iles and his mother Rose Isles.

Beth said: “My grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and so did a number of his brothers and sisters. It runs on my mother’s side of the family. Will’s grandmother is living with subcortical vascular dementia – she lives with her daughter Rose who cares for her.

“I was close to my grandfather and all the family chipped in to care for him. He had three brothers and seven sisters – only four of them are left now – and many of them died of Alzheimer’s. It’s hard as it feels like we lost him twice.

“When the first of his siblings got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my granddad didn’t know how to cope. If he knew his family were trying to raise awareness and make a difference he’d be super proud.”

Those taking part completed either a short 2km walk taking a gentle stroll or the longer 6km walk around Bute Park and Pontcanna Fields.

The fundraisers stepped out to stop dementia in its tracks after a devastating period for those living with the disease. People affected by dementia, worst hit by coronavirus, face a difficult road to recovery due to a lack of social contact, routine and interruptions to essential care and support. Alzheimer’s Society’s crucial work has never been needed more.

Sue Phelps, Alzheimer’s Society Country Director of Wales, said: “We are in awe of our incredible fundraisers, including Andy and Beth, who turned out in their hundreds to support the 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales.

“It was extremely moving to see so many people come together to honour or remember their loved ones.

“The pandemic has been catastrophic for people with dementia, with Alzheimer’s Society’s services, like our Dementia Connect support line, used over 6 million times since lockdown began in March 2020. Every pound raised from the Cardiff Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Cardiff Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”

Visit memorywalk.org.uk to organise your own Memory Walk at a location and time of your choosing.