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Marathon walk from Land's End to John o' Groats raises over £6000 for dementia group

By Gordon Calder

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A RETIRED GP, who worked as a locum in the far north, has raised over £6000 for a dementia group by walking from Land's End to John o' Groats.

Mary Abercrombie and her friend Helen Scott completed the marathon trip at the weekend after setting out on their epic journey on April 7. They walked over a thousand miles and raised the money for Dementia Friendly Dunblane which supports people living with the condition and their families and is run by Caithness woman, Caroline Earnshaw.

Mary, who lives in Dunblane and worked as a locum GP in Tongue, said: "What a privilege to walk the length of these wonderful countries. And a real joy to have such good friends to help us along the way. Thank you all. And big thanks to Helen for believing in me.What a great walk. I have raised over £6000 and am sure every penny will be put to good use."

Mary (left) and Helen at Groats after their marathon walk from Land's End.
Mary (left) and Helen at Groats after their marathon walk from Land's End.

She and her old school friend, Helen, were met at Groats on Saturday by members of their families, including Mary's mother all the way from Lancashire as well as relatives of Caroline's.

Mary and Helen have undertaken long walks for various causes but after Mary’s in-laws received support from the dementia cafe service offered by Dementia Friendly Dunblane they decided to raise money for the facility by walking from one end of the country to the other.

"I live in Dunblane and during lockdown, the dementia cafe was hugely supportive to us as a family. As a former GP, I realise the significance of people getting extra help with dementia and that includes the families as well.

"The plan was to keep things pretty low key, but once I mentioned it to the cafe, then we got loads of sponsorship on the JustGiving page."

The cafe, run by Dementia Friendly Dunblane, has been in use since 2017 and is open to people with mild to moderate dementia and their families/carers. It provides a warm and welcoming environment for people to meet old friends and make new ones, as well as an opportunity to enjoy a programme of activities.

Mrs Earnshaw, who grew up in Murkle and is a sister of photographer John Baikie, said: "We are blown away by these phenomenal women. Dementia Friendly Dunblane is so grateful for them taking on this challenge for us. The money raised will ensure we can continue supporting people living with dementia and their carers in our community".

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