A Dementia UK team effort at the Great North Run

A Dementia UK team effort at the Great North Run

We spoke to our Service Evaluator, Lucy Crystal, and Admiral Nurse, Brian Walton, about their participation in the Great North Run

Lucy Crystal

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This is my first time running with Dementia UK. I’m a fair weather runner and so I am really starting the training from almost a beginner level again.

I have family members and friends of the family who are living with dementia and I’ve seen how cruel it can be for the person diagnosed, as well as family carers. Working for Dementia UK has given me the perfect reason to raise some money for this fantastic cause.

My role as a Service Evaluator at Dementia UK means that I work with Admiral Nurse services, supporting them to collect data using a range of methods and compiling reports to show how effective and transformative their work is for families.

A big part of the Admiral Nurse role is to share the expertise they have. This can include raising awareness of dementia within a local community group, or training health professionals in dementia care. It all goes a long way to promoting best practice and ensuring bit by bit that many people are able to benefit from their knowledge.

I am passionate about ensuring more Admiral Nurses are funded. I live in Northumberland and not many people I talk to have heard of Admiral Nurses. There just aren’t enough of them to support every family living with dementia.

I know the run will be tough but the thought that every step is a step closer to another Admiral Nurse, along with a cheering crowd, will be more than enough to spur me on.


Brian Walton

Brian Walton running

As an Admiral Nurse, I am aware of the amazing work that Dementia UK does in providing my peers and me with the support and training to help families face the toughest cases of dementia. It’s this which inspired me to take part in the Great North Run – it helps that I’ll be able to keep fit doing this too!

I am running with my lovely niece. She helped me look after my mum, who was diagnosed with dementia, and gave me fantastic emotional support when I began to lose the plot with all the stresses of being a carer.

Dementia can often be diagnosed towards the end of a person’s life when they are most frail and vulnerable. This is when expert care and advice from an Admiral Nurse is vital. Families can often overlook their own needs as they are so preoccupied with their caring responsibilities during this difficult time.      

It will give me a real sense of achievement when I complete the race and I hope that I do my Admiral Nurse colleagues proud. I know that people from the North East of England will be there cheering me on and this will make the difference as I know they’ll be bringing the atmosphere. I’ll have to make sure that I keep up with the training first though…


Emma Saunders, Great North Run event manager at Dementia UK:

We’re extra excited for the Great North Run this year because it will be our first ever team of over 100 in an event! If you were lucky enough to get a place in the ballot, then we’d love you to join Lucy and Brian and be part of this record-breaking team. Join our team here.