The widow of a Newcastle United legend is urging residents to put their best foot forward for charity.
Ruth Crowe, who lives in Wallsend, will officially open the Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk from Baltic Square, Gateshead on Saturday, September 20.
Ruth, whose FA Cup-winning husband Charlie had dementia when he died in North Tyneside Hospital in February 2010, says she is hoping that families across the borough will take part in the walk.
She said: “I’m absolutely determined to do whatever I can to help people with dementia and their loved ones because I know from Charlie’s experience that we need to do more to fight it. It’s a terrible disease.
“Charlie didn’t know he was dying by inches because it is a slow, long drawn-out illness. They should have called it the long goodbye.
“He had dementia for 12 years before he died at the age of 85.
“I still remember the assessment with Charlie being asked to remember how many things were on a tray under a cloth. It was a memory test and it was then that the doctors knew for certain that something was wrong.
“Charlie changed completely. When I used to go and see him in his care home I would see him walking up his corridor to his room and he would smile but he didn’t have much conversation.
“When this illness hits them you are not prepared for it. You have lots of banter with them and lots of laughs and then it all starts to change but I’m glad Alzheimer’s Society is doing all it can to make things better.”
Ruth spoke out as she teamed up their daughter Lesley Edmondson and Society staff at Millennium Bridge to launch the second ever Tyneside Memory Walk.
She said: “It is important that we are having the Memory Walk because it raises money and it raises awareness which is vitally important to people with dementia and their carers.
“Nowadays there are lots of stories in the News Guardian about dementia which shows we are moving in the right direction and it just shows how good it is to have things like Memory Walk.”
Lesley added: “Everyone you talk to seems to have someone in their family who has dementia or they know someone who is affected by the disease. Now it is getting a lot of publicity which it deserves because it is possibly the biggest challenge facing our communities.”
Tyneside Memory Walk takes place at 11am on Saturday, September 20, at Baltic Square.
To take part visit www.memorywalk.org.uk