Only Fools and Horses star Sue Holderness joined more than 1,800 people to unite against dementia at Reading’s first Memory Walk yesterday (Sunday 1 October).
The actress, who played Marlene Boyce in Only Fools and Horses, cut the ribbon to start Alzheimer’s Society’s Reading Memory Walk which started in Kings Meadow at 11am.
Sue said: “I am here along with all these wonderful people to remember my mum as well as a number of friends who are affected by dementia at the moment. The great thing about Alzheimer’s Society is that they are uniting all these wonderful people and an amazing army of volunteers to raise awareness and funds in the most wonderful way.
“When my mum was first diagnosed with dementia I immediately contacted them and got a lot of helpful information and advice and I just want to encourage other people to do the same when dementia comes into their lives.
“Memory Walk is not only very moving but it’s also great fun. For me, it’s special because we have all known, or know, loved ones who are affected by dementia and we all understand the importance of trying to find a cure.
“At the moment, there is no cure. There is just a way of managing it. People can still live a positive and fulfilling life once you have had a diagnosis and you will be greatly helped if you can contact people who understand it. I’d urge anyone who is concerned just to contact the Alzheimer’s Society.
“It is very exciting to see when you think you have lost someone and then you play them some music from a time when they were happy and maybe in love and you can see a light of happiness come into their lives. There is a way of managing dementia, which isn’t all doom and gloom. Memory Walk is a way we can try to have fun and look for a way round it.
“I have been speaking to people, with wonderful messages. There was this girl whose dad is in hospital and some music was played to him and he just lit up and then when his grandkids came in to visit having been apparently in another world you could see happiness came across his face. It immediately made her weep because it was so touching and it is important to know that there are happy moments that can be found.
“The thing people forget is how desperately difficult life can get for the carers. A friend is going through the worst at the moment and his wife does find it incredibly hard. The amazing thing is that there are days when Alzheimer’s Society organises things so they can take out them to very interesting and fun events to give the cares a break. It is important just to have time to do things like going shopping and have a quiet moment when you are not on duty.”