'Exceptional young women' walking from Nottinghamshire to Sheffield for charity

Two ‘exceptional’ young women are preparing to walk from a Nottinghamshire village to Sheffield to raise money for charity.

By Sam Ward
Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 7:00 am

Carrie Clewes and Kelly Vauson are taking part in the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk on Sunday September 20.

Starting at the Heritage museum in Bilsthorpe, the walk will finish at the Sheffield home of Carrie’s nan Jean, who was diagnosed with dementia two years ago.

Around 225,000 people develop dementia every year – the equivalent to one person every three minutes.

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Carrie Clewes and Kelly Vauson are taking part in an Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, starting at the Heritage Museum in Bilsthorpe on September 20.

And in recent years Carrie and Kelly Vauson, who both live in Sheffield, have witnessed the impact the condition can have.

Now, they are taking part in a Memory Walk, a UK-wide initiative to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society, and walking over 30 miles from Bilsthorpe to Sheffield.

Carrie said: “Both of us and our families have felt the effects of dementia personally.

"My nan Jean was diagnosed a couple of years ago and Kelly has lost both her grandma Shirley and her step-mother in law, Mary, to dementia.

“We’re going to start at Mary’s home town of Bilsthorpe, walking through Clumber Park up to Sheffield to visit Shirley's house before wandering through Sheffield to finish at Jean’s house for cake and and a rest in Broomhill.

"We should cover around 30 miles in 11-12 hours.

“Dementia is devastating and affects everyone, from the person diagnosed to their family members and loved ones who have to endure having to watch the person they love fade away mentally without actually losing them physically.

“We are taking part in this walk to help to fund more ways to fight against this terrible illness so that we are able to make more precious memories that live on in the hearts of the people who are left behind.”

The pair have set up a JustGiving page with a target of £300, and are currently on £220.

They have garnered the financial and emotional backing of friends and family alike, but none more so than Kelly’s father-in-law, Les Wilkinson, the husband of Mary, Kelly’s step mother-in-law who died less two years after being diagnosed with mixed dementia, and still has family in Bilsthorpe.

Les, who now lives in Shrewsbury, said: “I'm just so impressed with the initiative of these two exceptional young women.

"Dementia is a cruel and devastating disease which is really hard on the individual and their nearest and dearest.

"Not only is this initiative an opportunity to raise money for much needed support but it will raise the profile on a local basis.

"The walk begins at 7am and is quite an undertaking and will take many hours.

"I intend to be there to see Kelly and Carrie off and to help resupply them with refreshments during the day.

"To say I admire their spirit and that I'm touched by the concept is an understatement.”

As well as Carrie and Kelly, tens of thousands of people up and down the country will be walking for loved ones on September 20 as part of the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

To donate to Carrie and Kelly’s fundraiser, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mw560091.