Dementia walk will honour former Ipswich mayor Roger Fern

Roger Fern speaking at the Dementia Walk

Roger Fern was a keen supporter of the Dementia Walk. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A charity walk is to be revived after more than two years - in memory of former Ipswich mayor and campaigner Roger Fern.

Mr Fern was a keen supporter and fundraiser for the Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk which was held every October up to 2019 before being cancelled because of Covid restrictions.

The event will return this year and there will be an extra, shorter walk, on April 2 to be known as the “Honouring Roger” Walk in memory of Mr Fern, who died in April last year.

Mr Fern was a keen supporter of the walk and encouraged the organisers. He helped the Ipswich Defeat Dementia Walk Event Team launches the to raise nearly £80,000 for national dementia charities between 2016 to 2019. 

April's event will be a five-mile walk in Ipswich, starting at the Cult Café on the Waterfront at midday and lead walkers through the town before returning to the popular cafe. It is being organised by event manager Jess Baldry, with Rory Marriott and Hilary Marriott.

They aim to hold the traditional 10-mile event again in October 2022, but hope the April event will celebrate Mr Fern's dedication to campaigning for better dementia treatment.

Ms Baldry said: "We hope to see our regular and new walkers in April. Due to the shorter than usual distance, we have opened the walk to those aged over 16.

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"And we will also welcome any 'non-seasoned' walkers who would like to participate; the pace of this walk is less brisk and more relaxed, and is set to give Roger a hearty shout-out from us all."

Mr Fern's campaign for better dementia care was spurred on as he looked after his wife Pat who has had the condition for many years.

During his second term as Ipswich mayor in 2016-17, Mr Fern raised thousands of pounds to support dementia sufferers through his mayor's charities - and remained a strong voice in campaigns for support for the rest of his life.

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