TV star calls on Londoners to stride out for mental health

A survey by a national charity has found that people have become much less active during lockdown, with the average UK adult reaching just 2,700 steps a day – just one-quarter of the recommended amount.

Kevin Whately: taking up the Alzheimer’s Society’s walking challenge

The Alzheimer’s Society found that in London since the first covid-19 lockdown began a year ago, 1-in-5 of us have walked fewer than 1,000 steps daily.

And Londoners are on average spending two days each week without getting out to get any fresh air.

The average resident stays six hours per day seated. For those who admitted to walking fewer than 1,000 steps daily, 17 percnt put down their lack of steps to working from home.

To help people get out more and get active, the charity is encouraging them to register for their Memory Walk this Saturday, March 20, as a first step towards a ready-made 13- or 26-mile trek in the summer in one of five renowned locations, including a London Trek26 challenge.

The events are all covid-19 secure and have all been specially adapted to accommodate social distancing.

Joining thousands of supporters set to embark on a new walking challenge in 2021 is actor and Memory Walk supporter Kevin Whately, who will endeavour to take on a Trek26 event for the first time.

The Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Morse and Lewis TV star’s mother, Mary, died with dementia in 2009. He is now asking the nation to take on a walking challenge this year following a devastating year for people with dementia.

“I know from personal experience the impact dementia has on those affected and their families – coronavirus has only exacerbated these challenges further for thousands of families affected by the disease in London,” he said.

“I am lucky enough to have participated in several Memory Walks, which are always a wonderful way to celebrate and remember a loved one who has been impacted by dementia, as well as enjoying the physical and mental benefits of the great outdoors.

“I’m now looking forward to upping my steps by taking part in one of Alzheimer’s Society’s treks this summer.

“Money raised will help Alzheimer’s Society reach and support more people through the charity’s vital services, like the Dementia Connect support line, which have been a lifeline for thousands of people. I can’t think of a better reason to take on a new challenge.”

Jackie Swapp, the charity’s area manager for south London, said: “Coronavirus has turned life upside down for everyone, especially those affected by dementia.

“There are more than 78,660 people living with dementia in London. They have been worst hit by coronavirus in terms of deaths, both from the virus and knock-on effects of lockdown, and need us now more than ever.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic has hit us hard financially, despite an unprecedented demand for our services. We want to continue to reach as many people as possible, which is why we’re calling on everyone to put their best foot forward and sign up to one of our walking events.”

  • Find out more at
  • Via the Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456, Alzheimer’s Society advisers provide emotional support and practical help during this difficult time. Phone lines are open seven days a week

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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