Cookies information uses cookies to make the site simpler. Find out more about the cookies we use.

Close banner

Play your part in baton relay to mark World Alzheimer’s Month

Published: 24 August 2022

Play your part in baton relay to mark World Alzheimer’s Month World Alzheimer’s Month

People living with dementia through family, friends and loved ones are being invited to play their part in an event next month to mark World Alzheimer’s Month.

On Sunday 11 September, Exeter Dementia Action Alliance – the chosen charity of the city’s Lord Mayor – will be holding a baton relay around Exeter.

The relay will celebrate memories of people who lived or are living with dementia.

The baton bearers will set off from Exeter’s historic Guildhall at 9:30am carrying a handmade baton 19 miles around parts of the Exeter Cosy Route, which circles the city and was created by the Alliance in September 2020.

Alongside the baton bearing team will be people whose loved ones have been affected by dementia, including those living with it, who will be pre-invited to carry the baton for short intervals where safe to do so.

Wider participation is invited from anyone with memories of loved ones with dementia, as within the baton will be a digital memory stick, open to all to contribute memories for inclusion. These messages will be printed out and put on display at the Guildhall on Saturday 24 September at the Alliance coffee morning from 10am until 1pm.

The Memory Baton Relay was the idea of Alliance board member Jo Earlam, who was inspired by seeing the Commonwealth Games baton relay go through Exeter on 4 July.

“I’d spent the weekend thinking and talking about what the Alliance might do in September for World Alzheimer’s Month, being the Lord Mayor’s Charity for this year. On the Monday night watching BBC Spotlight and seeing coverage of the Commonwealth Games baton relay, I suddenly thought, ooh how about a baton relay celebrating memories and the idea took shape from there.”

With limited time for planning, people carrying the baton will be pre-invited, but anyone with experience of dementia through family, friends and loved ones living with the disease, as a professional carer or part of a caring organisation is welcome to contribute a written memory or message, which will be uploaded to a digital memory stick and that stick with the messages will be carried in the baton.

Gina Awad, lead and founder of Exeter Dementia Action Alliance said: “Shining a light on dementia across Exeter, raising awareness and making a difference for families affected by the disease is at the core of everything we do.

“In recent years my uncle, who I’m also proud to call my godfather was diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia. I have been able to spend quality time with him and learnt a lot about his navy days I’m sure I would never have known.  So many stories that made us giggle. Things have progressed now, but I cherish those memories.

“Whilst dementia can be so hard for the whole family it is incredibly important to appreciate what the person can do, not what they cannot.  One day I believe there will be a cure but until then we will continue doing what we do.”

Jo said: “I’ve experienced the impact of dementia through three generations of family, both my late grandmothers, my father Bernard who died in 2015 aged 73, and now my husband John, who’s 78, and was diagnosed with mixed dementia five years ago.

“I have wonderful memories of spending time with my grandmothers and my dad, and in caring now for John, amid the difficult times there’s still a lot of laughter and special moments. It would be wonderful if the messages in the memory baton celebrate the warm-hearted feelings that I know so many people have for their loved ones who lived or are living with dementia.”

Also, within the baton will be a message from the Lord Mayor of Exeter, Cllr Yolonda Henson, and a picture specially drawn by award-winning cartoonist Tony Husband, a copy of this picture will be given to all baton carriers, along with a Cosy Route medal. The Lord Mayor will join the baton bearing team for a short section of the route.

She said: “I am incredibly honoured to be asked to take part in this relay, which will do wonders to raise the profile of dementia and the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, my chosen charity, but also celebrate memories of those people who have lived with dementia or who are currently living with it in some way.”

The main baton bearers will be Simon Hollyer and Dave Wright, both experienced long- distance runners with Sidmouth Running Club, and the first two people to complete the full 26.2 miles marathon distance COSY Route when it was created in September 2020. More club members and other runners will be in support at different stages of the route.

Those who would like to include a memory are invited to send them to or by Thursday 8th September. People are advised to

  • Include a first name if they wish of the person with dementia, but not a surname.
  • Include the association to them if they wish, such as daughter, son, wife, husband, friend, and give their first name if they wish, but again not a surname.
  • Include a connection to Exeter if they can as that would help localise the baton memories to the city.
  • Choose their own heartfelt words that say something of the person or people they’re remembering

Share this page on...