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21st Sep, 2021

Solihull couple's sea shanty-themed memory walk raises £2,000 for the Alzheimer's Society

A SOLIHULL couple had a nautical adventure to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society when they set off on a unique sea shanty-themed walking challenge.

Caroline Daniels and Bob Manekshaw walked over 10 miles as part of Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk, all while singing sea shanties throughout the route.

The pair embarked on their trek in memory of their mothers who both passed away with dementia.

The local choir members stopped at 14 notable spots and attractions throughout the walk, including Baddesley Clinton House and Church, Packwood House and Church and the Grand Union Canal.

At each stop they sang a sea shanty or folk song to support Alzheimer’s Society’s vital work.

The Sing! Bentley Heath members smashed their original target of £300, raising almost £2,000 for the charity.

Caroline said, “We usually hold a fund-raiser each year, which is a wonderful opportunity to get our friends and family together.

“Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, we have missed being able to do that. After seeing first-hand the devastating effects of dementia with our mums, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to raise some funds and support people living with the disease who have had such a difficult year.

“While I love to sing, I don’t always hit all the right notes, and because sea shanties are such a fun and inclusive way to get involved with singing, we thought it was the perfect challenge to make our Memory Walk that little bit more memorable.”

Bob added: “Despite weekly Zooms, we’ve really missed the interaction of our fellow choir members over the last year, and while we weren’t able to walk together due to lockdown, we were delighted to be met by our lovely friends and singers who surprised us along the way to show their support.

“We also talked to many people along the way who noticed our Memory Walk t-shirts, asked about what we were doing and shared a memory or two.”

She praised the generosity of their friends and neighbours and are now urging others to lace up their walking boots during the autumn for their own Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

Over a year since the pandemic began, people with dementia are still bearing the brunt of coronavirus and demand for Alzheimer’s Society’s services is increasing.

The charity’s services have been used over 5.5million times since March 2020 and have been a lifeline to thousands, but so many more urgently need support.

Kumbi Mandinyenya, Alzheimer’s Society area manager, said: “This autumn we are calling on family, friends and colleagues from across the West Midlands to put their best foot forward for Alzheimer’s Society at Sutton Park.

“We are in awe of our amazing supporters like Caroline and Bob whose fund-raising efforts help fund our services.

“The last year has been tough for everyone, but for people with living with dementia the impact of coronavirus has been catastrophic.

“Every step our fundraisers take will make a huge difference by providing a lifeline for people affected by dementia who have been worst hit.”

Hundreds of supporters have already registered to take part in the Birmingham Memory Walk at Sutton Park on September 11.

Supporters can also opt to walk on their own, or with loved ones, on the paths, pavements, parks or pebbles in a location of their choosing throughout September.

Visit memorywalk.org.uk for more on the Sutton Park memory walk or organising one elsewhere.

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