A walk to remember

My wife Susan sadly died of Alzheimer’s Disease in May this year. Over a period of about five or six years her condition had slowly deteriorated giving her more and more difficulty with communication. Eventually she became almost totally immobile. 

There is so little known about the work that Alzheimer’s Research UK does that I thought in Susan’s memory, and to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Research UK, I would undertake a challenge hike.  The challenge is a 100 mile (161km) solo walk along the South Downs Way. I aim to complete the walk in seven days averaging 15 miles (24km) a day.

The South Downs Way stretches from the ancient cathedral city of Winchester in the west, the first capital of England, to the white chalky cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head at Eastbourne. It takes in wonderful varied landscape of woodland, chalk downs, arable farmland and meandering rivers, and follows the footsteps of ancient paths and droveways.

It is an undulating route with the highest point being Buster Hill at 270 metres. There are fantastic views across the Downs from Harting Down and there’s also the Chanctonbury Ring, an ancient Iron Age hill-fort, dating back to the sixth century BC, with views to the sea and along the Downs. I will also be passing Devils Dyke where legend has it the devil dug the valley to drown the parishioners of the Weald. The route then passes through the iconic coastal scenery of the cliffs of The Seven Sisters and onto Beachy Head just west of Eastbourne.

Dementia affects a significant proportion of the population – one in three people over 65 in the UK will die with some form of the condition and there are at present an estimated 850,000 people living with dementia, a number which is expected to rise to over a million by 2025.  I hope that my challenge walk will raise awareness of, and contribute to, the funding of Alzheimer’s Research UK, whose mission is to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025, with their long-term vision for a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of the disease.

I shall be writing a blog of my walk, so if you would like to follow my progress feel free to visit https://southdownschallenge.com

Finally, if you feel able to support me any donation, however small, will be gratefully received. The important work of Alzheimer’s Research UK is almost entirely funded by donations and sponsorship.

You can donate via my blog or on my JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-ensor1.

David Ensor

October-November 2021