Three sisters ran Leeds Half Marathon for dementia charity after family tragedies

THREE sisters who lost both their grandmothers to dementia ran the Leeds Half Marathon at the weekend to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's Research UK.

Emma, 25, Helen, 27, and 30-year-old Rosie Aspinall were determined to help the charity and have so raised more than £1,300.

Their paternal grandmother Margaret Aspinall, of Oakwood, Leeds, died from severe Alzheimer’s aged 81 in February and her husband Ronald, 87, has been diagnosed with early stage dementia (Margaret and Ronald Aspinall are pictured above).

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The sisters’ maternal grandmother Pauline Hobbs (pictured below) died of vascular dementia aged 85 in 2013.

Former Leeds College of Music student Emma Aspinall, said: “It’s heartbreaking to witness a family member, someone you love, live through this disease.

“Doing the race helped give us closure, because we knew were doing a great thing in their memory as well as raising awareness about dementia.

“We are determined to raise more awareness and do our bit to help the charity continue valuable research.”

Emma added: “Margaret had a far stronger case of dementia and unfortunately had to live in a care home towards the end, as did Pauline.

“It was a heartbreaking decision for us as a family to separate Ron and Margaret.”

Professional singer Emma said that her experiences with her grandparents and dementia has inspired her to work full-time for a music and wellbeing charity.

She said: “I sing to residents in dementia units. Music helps people with dementia. It’s uplifting and it stimulates their memory.

“I was inspired after witnessing the positive impact of music on both my grandmas as they lived with the disease.”

The Aspinall sisters’ online fundraising page can be found at