Belfast Telegraph

People: Fundraiser walk is some feet

By Amanda Ferguson

Over the last two two decades, Margaret Sterrett has dedicated herself to volunteering with the Alzheimer's Society.

Each year the caring 66-year-old from the Cavehill area of north Belfast raises around £2,000 for the charity.

She understands the impact dementia has on people better than most, as her mother Peggy was diagnosed in the 1970s, aged 54, at a time when awareness of the illness wasn't as widespread as it is today.

Peggy died in 1989, aged 67, so Margaret decided to use the time she would have spent caring for her mother to volunteer.

Margaret said: "In those days there wasn't much known or much support out there and Alzheimer's Society was only just being set up in Northern Ireland.

"I used to work in a cigarette factory and had a lot of girls working with me who were very supportive and helped me to raise money.

"When Alzheimer's Society opened their office in Belfast I was in the right place at the right time and was happy to help.

"With all the experience and the trauma I had been through with my mother, I wanted to help other people in a similar position."

Margaret teaches knitting and crocheting at Belfast Metropolitan College, so is able to sell items she makes to raise funds, and each year an event in the hall at Rosemary Presbyterian Church generates around half of her annual fundraising target.

She is currently busy preparing for the Stormont Memory Walk on Saturday, September 21, and is urging other people to consider volunteering with the charity.

"I've built up so much knowledge about dementia, it's important to me to share it," she said.

"I love talking and being out meeting people.

"If people can volunteer they should.

"Charity groups are crying out for help," she said.

Alzheimer's Society's community fundraising manager, Janet Plunkett said: "We are so grateful to Margaret for all of her hard work for Alzheimer's Society over the years. We would like to thank her and hope her story inspires others to consider volunteering too."

Belfast Telegraph


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