Keith Jeavons will be volunteering at Memory Walk 2014 and is described by Alan Drury, the Community Fundraiser in Swansea, as “the backbone of volunteering and fundraising in the area”. Keith is a Dementia Friend, Fundraising Ambassador and Local Rep.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I have been a volunteer in Swansea for 11 years, since my mother was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia and had to be moved into a nursing home. I wished to learn more about the condition, of which I knew very little. I spoke with someone I knew at Alzheimer’s Society and I was asked to become a volunteer and my involvement has escalated since. As an early retired business bank manager I was able to bring my previous financial skills to the local branch of the Society.
I have been Chairman of the Committee of the old Swansea Branch, before the days of locality management and I have stayed with the Society through all of its subsequent changes.
I am a Dementia Friend having attended an Information Session in my local area and am committed to making my community more dementia-friendly by being patient and helpful to people who are living with dementia.
I have taken part in every Memory Walk since they were introduced and been heavily involved for the past 4 years. Last year we raised an incredible £67,000 and this year we are hoping to raise an even greater sum.
I have taken part in all Swansea Memory Walks since their inception and I always volunteer to help at the Walks as they are the biggest fundraising event and highlight of the Society’s Calendar.
What was your role as a Volunteer?
After assisting with the unloading of the vehicles, from around 6:00 am, I will be helping to erect the gazebos and generally helping where needed. As last year, I will be erecting the direction signs for the walkers around the Walk route, together with a fellow volunteer, commencing virtually at first light. On returning to the main Start/Finish Line Event Area I will be helping out anywhere I’m needed and then again helping with packing up at the end of the day.
What was the best part of the day? And the worst?
Best – Seeing such a wonderful turn out, whilst watching walkers of all ages and abilities, setting off to walk either the 2km or the 10km distances and then seeing all of them return, knowing that they have raised a considerable amount of money for the Alzheimer’s Society. This combined with the incredible amount of money which we hopefully will have raised and exceeding last year’s £67,000.
Worst – Bad weather. Hopefully it will once again be as beautifully sunny and warm as it was last year, but in 2012 the heavens opened within minutes of the walk having started and everyone returned soaked to the skin. We had a Samba Band which had planned to play along the route but this had to be abandoned.
What are you looking forward to about Memory Walk 2014?
Similar things to the best parts of the day – the key factor being a good number of people walking, raising lots of money. Seeing carers and people with dementia walking together with the sole aim of raising a considerable amount of money for the Society which can be used to improve the lives of people affected by dementia and eventually, hopefully, find a cure for this debilitating and degenerative disease.
How can people volunteer at Memory Walk 2014?
It takes over 1,500 enthusiastic volunteers to make Memory Walk a magic day, people can help out on the day by setting up site, marshalling the route, running fundraising stalls, and much more! Check out the volunteering roles or contact the Memory Walk team for more information.