Walking for Dementia Awareness

Rotarian Maggie Hardy, Community Committee Chair and event lead, reports on a wonderfully fulfilling day in the sun!

SWANAGE WALKS, held on May 5th 2018, was organised and run by the Community Committee of Swanage and Purbeck Rotary Club in support of Dementia Friendly.

From an original idea of Rotarian Hubert Pierce, the Rotary Community Committee organised a walk for all at the King George’s Playing Fields in Swanage.

Supported by the Swanage Area Dementia Friendly Community team, Swanage Town Council and Swanage Carnival Committee, a sub group was formed to facilitate the event for Dementia Friendly, the charity of this year’s Town Mayor Mike Bonfield and our own Rotary Club President Ro Clark.

The event attracted generous support from the Swanage Town Band, Kevin Burke (Children’s Entertainer), pupils from the Swanage School, who designed and painted a Dementia Friendly design on the graffiti wall at the field, and ‘Scooby Crew’ who provided a bouncy castle.

A Treasure hunt, organised and led by Rotarian Dai Hounsell, provided an excellent focus to the Walk around the half mile radius of the field which highlighted the lovely views across the Purbeck hills and the steam trains of the Swanage Railway.

The excellent weather of the day encouraged more people to the beach than to the walk so the hoped for donations to Dementia Friendly were not great BUT the increased profile to wide areas of the community and the coordinated working of several organisations made it a memorable and happy occasion which could be repeated in future years. We were delighted that our newly appointed Admiral Nurse Rachel was also able to pop in and show her support.

The “icing on the cake” for me was the invitation to attend an Assembly at the Swanage School which focussed on Dementia and the effects on individuals. The event also celebrated the Dementia design painted on the graffiti wall by two school pupils and which received so much interest from school members.

A whole school is now aware of dementia – a priceless benefit of community groups working together!

Rotary was privileged to lead this event and thanks everyone involved in raising awareness of Dementia.

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