Hurst plans Alzheimer’s walk as SJA announce charity partnership

The SJA is delighted to announce that its nominated charity for its two 2017 award events, beginning at the British Sports Awards in December, is Alzheimer’s Society, an organisation that works tirelessly to fund research and improve care and support for sufferers.

This is an illness that has touched or will touch many of our members. Of late it has had a particular resonance within the sporting world.

The cruel impact of the condition was revealed all too emphatically in April when two of England’s World Cup-winning players, Sir Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks, revealed that three other members of the England side that day have dementia and can no longer remember their 1966 win or their team mates.

Martin Peters, Nobby Stiles and Ray Wilson have the condition which has robbed them of their most precious memories.

The SJA’s support is particularly timely because Hurst, the former West Ham striker and World Cup final hat-trick scorer has pledged his backing for Memory Walk, Alzheimer’s Society’s flagship fundraising event which is taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Sunday October 8.

Hurst, 75, will take part in his local Memory Walk at Cheltenham’s Pittville Park at 11am. It is just one of the 34 events being held to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia charity – including the first night walks in London, Liverpool and Cardiff.

He will officially open the event before embarking on the 3km walk alongside hundreds of families among up to 110,000 walkers striving to help raise £9 million for people affected by dementia. Register here to find a walk near you.

“The fight against dementia is a cause that is very close to my heart and I wanted to do my bit to support people affected by the condition like Martin, Ray and Nobby by raising funds through events such as Memory Walk,” said Hurst. “I am sure it will be a very emotional occasion. We were always there for each other when we were England team-mates and I will always be there for them and their families now as they live with dementia.”

Other UK sports people who have dementia include: Eric Harrison, former Manchester United youth coach responsible for nurturing the ‘Class of ‘92’, Celtic legends Billy McNeil and Steve Chalmers and ex-Leeds and GB rugby league player John Atkinson. Those who suffered from dementia include: Jimmy Hill, Ronnie Moran and Derek Ibbotson, the former world mile record holder.

As well as Hurst and Banks, the charity’s sporting supporters include Robbie Savage, Lawrie McMenemy, Matt Le Tissier and former rugby union player Ollie Phillips.

Banks, now 79 and himself battling cancer, said in April: “We had such wonderful moments with these lads that have got dementia. And to think of them now, like they are now, they can’t even remember us and it’s just so sad now, it really is.”

The SJA fund-raising partnership with Alzheimer’s Society will start at the Pavilion at the Tower of London on Wednesday December 8 when leading figures and athletes from the world of sport gather for the British Sports Awards and also includes the British Sports Journalism Awards.

Unite now – text UNITE to 70677 to donate £3 a month or visit Boyson, Regional Fundraising Manager with Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Thank you so much to the SJA for nominating Alzheimer’s Society as its chosen charity this year.  Alzheimer’s Society is working tirelessly to challenge perceptions, fund research and improve care and support. We rely heavily on donations from our supporters. With the money raised from the SJA awards events, we will make even greater progress towards our vision of a world without dementia.”

To book your place for SJA British Sports Awards 2017 please go to our booking site

Dementia, the stark facts

  • Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. Someone develops it every three minutes and it’s set to affect 1 million by 2021
  • Of the top ten causes of death, dementia is the only one we cannot prevent, cure or slow down
  • It has no respect for age. More than 40,000 people with dementia in the UK are under 65. It slowly strips you of your memory, relationships and connection to the world

Risk reduction

  • Getting regular exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet, not smoking and keeping you blood pressure in check all help to lower your risk of developing dementia

The SJA is the largest member organisation of sports media professionals in the world. Join us: Click here for more details