Television’s Line of Duty star Vicky McClure and more than 3,000 people united against dementia for a walk at a Nottinghamshire park.
She was joined by a young woman with autism, who was airlifted to hospital just a year ago after being hit by a car and spent her 18th birthday in a coma.
Lizzie Heeley, of Ravensdales Road, mansfield, who now has a rod in her mended broken leg, decided to ignore the short 2km walk at Wollaton Park and go the full 6km distance with the aid of her walking frame.
Vicky, who paid tribute to Lizzie as inspirational, said: “This is my seventh Memory Walk and I intend never to miss one. This day means a lot to me for many reasons.
“It’s incredible to have all these people together who have a common goal and a common understanding, to unite and fight this horrible disease together.
“Seven years ago there were about 300 people at the walk and it just goes to show that it is affecting more and more people.
“This is exactly what we need to do, we have to keep putting on these fundraisers and spreading the word.”
Lizzie’s grandmother, Ruth Heeley, 66, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago and no longer recognises her husband of more than 40 years, Alan.
Lizzie, 18, said: “My grandma Ruth has dementia and I wanted to walk to help raise money to find a cure.“She isn’t very well and it is really important to me to be able to take part to support people living with dementia all over the world.”
Mum Marianne Heeley, 40. said: “I’m hugely proud of Lizzie, she decided to do the walk and nagged nine family members into joining her!”
Her grandmother had gone from being “bubbly and flamboyant” to being in need of constant care unable to eat or dress without help.
“Lizzie understands much more now as a result of having had her own memory problems after her accident and she wants to make a difference,” said Marianne.
Pippa Foster, Alzheimer’s Society operations manager, said: “Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer.
“I am so glad that people so many people stepped out in Nottingham to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
“Every pound raised will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change.
“We are committed to spending at least £150 million over the next decade on dementia research to improve care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Nottingham Memory Walk such a huge success.”