Thousands join fight to tackle Alzheimer's disease

Over 3000 people took part in a charity memory walk this morning to raise funds and awareness in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk Leeds 24th Sept 2016. Tutu team - Catherine Green (2nd from right) walked with family and friends for her dad Eric who lived with dementia for 7 years

Participants could choose either a two kilometre or six kilometre route around the grounds of Temple Newsam.

Among them was Emmerdale actor John Middleton who plays Ashley Thomas in the tv soap and whose character has Alzheimer’s.

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He said: “It’s overwhelming to see so many people walking together for a world without dementia - and underlines the massive impact the condition has on our community.

Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk Leeds 24th Sept 2016. Tutu team - Catherine Green (2nd from right) walked with family and friends for her dad Eric who lived with dementia for 7 years

“It’s a privilege for me to take part in such a special day and more than ever shows the wonderful support there is for raising money for Alzheimer’s Society services and the charity’s research in the fight against the disease.”

Joining him and the many other walkers was Tomofumi Tanno, a dementia campaigner and sufferer from Japan.

He was diagnosed at the age of 39 and today was being filmed by NHK - the Japanese equivalent of the BBC - for a national TV programme called “A Journey of People Who Never Give Up - Living after the diagnosis of dementia.”

Now aged 42, he told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I’m delighted to have been invited to cut the ribbon to start the walk and with so many people on their own journey of never giving up, supporting the Alzheimer’s Society in helping people living here with dementia.

Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk Leeds 24th Sept 2016. Tutu team - Catherine Green (2nd from right) walked with family and friends for her dad Eric who lived with dementia for 7 years

“I want to see a society where people can carry on living with dementia joyfully and to build on the friendship between Japanese and British people who are concerned about dementia and for us inspire each other.”

Last year’s Leeds Memory Walk, which was held in Roundhay Park, raised £160,000 for the charity and it is hoped this year that total will be beaten.

Michael White, Alzheimer’s Society, operations manager for West Yorkshire, added: “Memory Walk is a wonderful demonstration of solidarity and commitment to our community by local people. It’s been a great day at a wonderful place in a brilliant cause.”