'I can’t wait to see my nana again' says seven-year-old charity champion

A seven-year-old girl has joined thousands of others in completing a walking challenge to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society.

Orla Collard.
Orla Collard.

Orla Collard from Little Thorpe, near Peterlee, did a seven-mile walk in Castle Eden Dene with her parents and family pet to support her nana Christine, who has dementia.

Alongside her mum Emma, dad Jonny and dog Raisin, she walked from Christine's old home to her new care home and hid stones painted with forget-me-nots, used in Alzheimer’s Society’s logo, along the route.

She was motivated to take on the Memory Walk in aid of the dementia charity after missing Christine, who she has not been able to see due to lockdown restrictions.

Orla completed a seven-mile walk in Castle Eden Dene alongside her mum Emma, dad Jonny and dog Raisin.

Orla, who has raised £1,200 so far, said in March: “My nana is poorly with a disease that makes her say silly things and forget my name.

“I love my nana Christine very much, but I miss her lots because she is in a care home and Boris (Johnson) said we can’t go visit because of the coronavirus and them nasty germs that make her more sick.

“I can’t wait to see my nana again in the care home and give her a really big snuggle and a squeeze. I love her.”

Orla’s commitment comes at a critical time for those affected by dementia.

People with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus in terms of deaths, both from the virus and knock-on effects of lockdown – thousands have seen their health deteriorate and mental health decline as a result of having little social contact and interruptions to essential care and support.

Thousands of family carers have also been in despair because of care home visitor bans and a lack of respite.

Emma said: “Orla has been absolutely amazing and by sharing her story, she has raised money to help support those living with this cruel disease.

“The sun shined all day long, we shared memories from my childhood and turned them into new memories for Orla.

“The walk, our chats, the forget-me-not stones, she totally smashed it – she is our little inspiration.”

If you would like to take part in a trek or Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s Society, go to alzheimers.org.uk/events to sign-up.

You can support Orla’s fund-raising efforts at https://bit.ly/3qMtJgs