TV star Vicky Pattison has remembered her late grandad saying she thinks she “did him proud” as she completed a 26-mile charity walk in his honour.
The former Geordie Shore star and winner of I’m A Celebrity… was joined by her fiancé Ercan Ramadan at the weekend event, which is one of many being hosted by the charity as part of their Trek26 events happening across the UK.
She told the PA News agency: “He’d been very poorly for a very long time. He was 91 when he passed away, we discovered the first signs of Alzheimer’s when he was around 80 years old.
“So it’s been a difficult 10 years and I know anyone who has a loved one who has dementia, Alzheimer’s, is very well familiar with that journey. You end up gradually saying your goodbyes to them as they lose more and more of their memories and self.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, someone develops dementia every three minutes and they estimate that by 2040, 1.6 million people in the UK will have the condition.
Pattison said: “I remember feeling like, I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable when my grandad had it and remind him that he was getting things wrong. I just used to brush stuff under the carpet when he forgot stuff or didn’t remember it, because it’s uncomfortable for you or you don’t want to face hard home truths.
“But you’re not doing your loved ones any favours, you need to get them the adequate support and help that they need.
“And if you don’t know what that is, contact someone like Alzheimer’s Society and they can help you, they have loads of amazing helplines.
“But mostly what I’d say is people suffering with Alzheimer’s, dementia, memory loss, they’re scared. They’re forgetting things and they know they shouldn’t be. So make sure you hold their hand, make sure you tell them you’re there for them…”.
The funds raised from the Trek26 and Memory Walk events go towards the charity’s vital services, among them its Dementia Connect support service.
The TV star and presenter, who was crowned the Queen of the Jungle in 2015, said: “I’ll admit it, my legs are tired, but I think I did my grandad proud out there… As each step got harder, I felt more determined to channel his fighting spirit and finish the course.
“My heart is so full from seeing all the other Alzheimer’s Society supporters trekking alongside me, united by one mission – to raise as much money and awareness as possible to help people with dementia.
“I was blown away by the gorgeous views around Stonehenge and the camaraderie among people who were trekking for, or in memory of, their loved ones. We got each other through it and had a total blast.
“Alzheimer’s Society’s Trek26 events are just one of the many ways you can support the charity. If you’re looking to walk fewer miles, there are also plenty of shorter Memory Walks happening this Autumn.
“I’d really encourage everyone to sign up for an event. I can’t bring my granddad back but being able to honour him like this has brought me a lot of comfort.”
Anyone wishing to sign up to one of the Alzheimer’s Society’s 25 Memory Walks this Autumn can visit memorywalk.org.uk