MP and Olympian Goldie Sayers call for walkers to step forward for dementia research

MP Andrew Lansley has shown his support for dementia research by backing Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Big Walk in Comberton this summer.

The MP for South Cambridgeshire will cut the ribbon to start the fundraising walk on Sunday June 9, which is the third to be organised by the Cambridgeshire-based charity and aims to raise £30,000 for pioneering dementia research. In backing the event, Mr Lansley joins Olympian Goldie Sayers who is also challenging people to pull on their walking boots and sign up for the family event.

Over 130 people have already signed up for the nine-mile circular walk, which starts and finishes in the picturesque village of Comberton. The route will pass through the beautiful South West Cambridgeshire countryside, giving walkers the chance to take in stunning scenery as they stroll through fields, along country paths and past peaceful woodland areas. The event also features a two-mile route suitable for people with younger children or those less able to take on the longer distance. In the past two years, hundreds of people have turned out for the Big Walk to support the UK’s leading dementia research charity, raising over £60,000 for research between them.

Last week a poll for the Ramblers revealed 93% of Britons agreed that walking is a good form of exercise for keeping healthy, but that a quarter of British adults walk for less than an hour each week. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Big Walk offers a perfect opportunity for people to get active and support dementia research at the same time.

Mr Lansley, who has pledged to take part in the walk on the day, said: “I’m delighted to give my backing to this year’s Big Walk, which is not only a good way to raise money for research, but a great opportunity for people in the county to come together for a common cause. It’s heartening to know that people in my constituency and beyond have shown up in force for the first two Big Walks, and I look forward to seeing that community spirit in action on the day itself. Dementia is a growing challenge for society as a whole and research is crucial to finding long-term answers, so I urge people to sign up to take part in the Big Walk.”

Goldie Sayers, Britain’s number one javelin thrower, echoed Mr Lansley’s call, adding: “With so many people affected by dementia, research is vital to tackle this devastating condition and make a real difference to people’s lives. I’m delighted to give my backing to Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Big Walk – as an athlete, I’m a big believer in the benefits of exercise, and the Big Walk is a form of exercise that nearly everyone can take part in while raising money for this important cause. It’s fantastic to know that so many people have signed up already and I hope many more will follow their lead! Although I can’t be there to join in with the walk, I’ll be wishing everyone the best of luck for the challenge on the day.”

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re thrilled to have the support of Mr Lansley and Goldie, and having Mr Lansley cut the ribbon on the day will be a great boost for our walkers as they set off. Thanks to our wonderful supporters, our last two Big Walks have been tremendous successes – now we need as many people as possible to help make this year’s event a resounding success too.

“Over 6,000 people in Cambridgeshire are living with dementia today, and research is the only way to find much-needed treatments for the condition. Every step taken and every penny raised on the Big Walk will bring us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure dementia. We rely entirely on our wonderful supporters to fund our vital research, and we hope lots of them will join us for this year’s Big Walk.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Big Walk starts at 10am on Sunday 9 June, at Comberton Sports and Arts, West Street, Comberton CB23 7DU. To take up the challenge telephone 0300 111 5 777 or email bigwalk@alzheimersresearchuk.org. Registration is £15 for adults and £7.50 for under 18s. For more information, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/big-walk