John Hirst


Fundraising for Alzheimer's Research UK
raised of £500 target
by 53 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
In memory of Patricia Hirst
We stand for everyone affected by dementia to find a cure


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The photo above shows Pat (centre) with Carol & John who are undertaking this walk in her memory to raise awareness of early onset dementia and to raise funds for dementia research. 

We want to share our experience as we walk through Yorkshire heading north from York, the city where Pat was born and grew up, to Stockton-on-Tees where she made her home for the 32 years before her death from Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).

My wife Pat was diagnosed with FTD (the same illness that Bruce Willis has recently been diagnosed with) in 2012, 18 months after her retirement as a nurse in the NHS. This answered questions we had about many things that had taken place over the previous 5 years. Following her diagnosis her decline was rapid resulting in loss of speech, an inability to swallow and for the final months she was forced to use a wheelchair. Throughout her ordeal she was able to recognise all of us and was aware until very close to the end of her life. She died on 22nd July 2017 aged just 66 years.

Since her diagnosis I have been working to increase awareness of early onset dementia and also to raise funds for dementia charities such as Alzheimer's Research UK who kindly posted our story on their blog in 2017 (

944,000 people are estimated to be living with dementia in the UK. 52% of the UK public – 34.5 million people – know someone who has been diagnosed with a form of dementia. 1 in 3 people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime. In the UK, dementia is the only condition in the top 10 causes of death without a treatment to prevent, cure or slow its progression.

On average 11.25% of deaths in England and Wales were due to dementia in 2022, 3.3% were due to COVID-19. In October 2022, 5,249 people died due to dementia in England. 15.9% of women died due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2019 in the UK. It was the leading cause of death for women. 8.8% of men died due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2019 in the UK. It was the second leading cause of death for men. The number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias around the world is predicted to rise by 41%. This is almost twice as fast as the increase in total deaths, predicted to rise by 22%.

Our route will begin at Heslington with the parkrun there on Saturday 13 May before a walk into the city through the University.  We will visit St Wilfrid's RC Church where we married in 1978 & Bar Convent where Pat went to school.  We will then follow the river Ouse to Rawcliffe Bar.  
Day 2 will head out along the river to Overton, Beningbrough, Newton-on-Ouse, Linton-on-Ouse, Youlton and Alne.
Day 3 will head through Easingwold, passing Newburgh Priory on to Coxwold finishing at Kilburn. (Today is the 46th anniversary of John & Pat meeting at a nurses party when we lived in Liverpool.)
Day 4 sees us crossing the A170 at Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe before passing through the villages of Felixkirk, Kirkby Knowle, Cowesby, Nether & Over Silton, Thimbleby to Osmotherley. 
Day 5 heads to Swainby, Potto, Hutton Rudby, Middleton-on-Leven, Hilton with the finish at Maltby.
Day 6 passes through Stainton to Hemlington Library before following Bluebell Beck, crossing A19 to visit LiveWell Dementia Hub in Thornaby then across the River Tees over Victoria Bridge to end the walk at Sustrans Hub on Stockton High Street. 

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About the charity

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity. We’re striving for a cure, by revolutionising the way we treat, diagnose and prevent dementia.

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Total raised
+ £316.94 Gift Aid
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