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Evie tackles Harewood House memory walk with a spring in her step
Bouncing little Evie Mansfield-Smith brought smiles to the faces of 650 people taking part in Harewood House Memory Walk on Sunday.
Supported by a team of family and friends she took a leap of faith a step further at the Alzheimer’s Society event by going the distance with them by Space Hopper.
Evie, aged seven, surrounded by people from across Yorkshire at the walk, had the idea of a hopathon to support her grandad.
She said: “I really love my grandad and I’m sad he has Alzheimer’s. He’s changed, he looks different and he forgets things.
“He was my best friend, I feel I have lost him. We can’t play like we used to, that’s why I want to raise money to help find a cure.”
Evie, of Horbury, has raised £550, out of a total of £1,400 gathered by her team of bouncers, to support Alzheimer’s Society services and research into fighting dementia.
Walkers were waved off by Sky sports news presenter Charlie Webster, who took part with family members, and joined the Evie’s hopathon.
Charlie said: “Seeing so many walkers of all ages supporting the walk and lots of young people shows we are raising awareness of dementia.
“Every one of the people taking part has their own story. It shows we are starting to break down the stigma there has been around dementia which is important.”
Three generations of one family taking part included Paul Martin, of Leeds, walking for his mum, who died with Alzheimer’s.
Paul, who went on the walk straight from working a night shift without any sleep, said: “Alzheimer’s crippled us all. She wasn’t our mum – she just didn’t know us. She didn’t recognise us. It was horrible.”
Debbie Robinson, of Ireland Wood, Leeds, was walking for her dad, Len Wood, who developed Alzheimer’s in his 70s.
She said: “It totally changed him. He was loveable, kind and full of fun, but he went from the nicest, mildest person to being cross with everyone.”
Community fundraiser Ju Lee, added: “We have had a brilliant day and the support has been absolutely fantastic. The atmosphere has been wonderful.
“Mums, dads, grandparents right through to children in prams all walked together and the sight of Evie and her team bouncing over the finish line was amazing!
“Space hoppers in full flight isn’t something anyone expected to see at Harewood.”
For every walker who took part, Bupa Care Homes donated a further £2.50 to support people living with dementia.