Marie overcomes heartache to join hundreds of others on walk

Marie Air with her brother Joe Lackenby and her daughter Francesca Air. Picture by North News & Pictures.
Marie Air with her brother Joe Lackenby and her daughter Francesca Air. Picture by North News & Pictures.

A North Tyneside woman overcame personal heartache to help people with dementia, raising £1,500 for charity.

Marie Air, of Forest Hall, was left devastated after her mother, Mary Lackenby, lost her fight against cancer last Thursday at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Wallsend couple Liam Docherty and Kerry Parr with one-year-old son Arthur. Picture by North News & Pictures.

Wallsend couple Liam Docherty and Kerry Parr with one-year-old son Arthur. Picture by North News & Pictures.

But despite her loss, Marie took part in the Alzheimer’s Society’s Tyneside Memory Walk after being inspired to raise funds for the charity by her dad Joe Lackenby, a dementia sufferer being looked after at a Forest Hall care home.

Marie, the mum of Byker Grove star Donna Air, was joined by her brother Joe Lackenby and her daughter Francesca Air on the walk.

The event saw 2,500 people head to Newcastle Quayside to raise awareness of the condition and £100,000 between them for the charity.

Marie said: “It’s been a really tough time, but my mum was so looking forward to us doing the memory walk so there was no question of us not taking part.

“She knew how important it was to fight dementia. She took it really badly when my dad went downhill with Alzheimer’s.

“She found it incredibly painful to watch dad suffer because he and mum spent almost all their lives together and hardly spent a day apart.

“It’s also really sad that he wasn’t there at the end of her life to share that as well because of his dementia. He’s totally oblivious to the fact that his wife has passed away.”

Also taking part were Wallsend couple Liam Docherty and Kerry Parr and their one-year-old son Arthur.

“We’re here in memory of my nana, who died last year, Joan Parr, who lived in Shiremoor,” Kerry said. “We were all really sad to lose to her and so to see her develop dementia was really heartbreaking.

“It was really hard to see her go, but she has inspired us to boost the fight against dementia and do what we can.”

The memory walk was opened by the TV agony aunt Denise Robertson.

“I thought it would be a rather sombre occasion, but the opposite was the case,” Denise said.

“Yes, there are a few tears because people are walking for people who are gone, but they are here to help other people, so my overwhelming feeling is of huge optimism. It’s an inspirational event.”