Croydon actress Kellie Shirley doing Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk for ex-Eastenders colleague Babs
A former EastEnders actress is urging others to join her and her friends for a Memory Walk from Southwark Park on Saturday morning.
Croydon-based Kellie Shirley, who played Carly Wicks in the BBC soap between 2006 and 2008, will be walking 26 miles to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society.
The In The Long Run star raised over £185k running the London Marathon earlier this year for Barbara’s Revolutionaries, a charity set up for Barbara Windsor, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.
She said: “All the money goes to fund this crucial research and if anybody reading this would like donate, I’ll be really grateful.
“Raising money and spreading the word is really important.
“I think they’re about six years away from finding a cure, which is really exciting.
“Within my lifetime, and certainly within my kids’ lifetimes, hopefully there will be something to slow it down, because there isn’t at the moment.
“One out of three of us will get diagnosed with it. That’s a massive statistic and needs to tackled now.
“It’s why I really wanted to take part. My mum still works in care homes. I did as well in between acting jobs.
“I’ve seen first-hand how it devastates families.
“Not just the person that’s been diagnosed, it has a massive effect on families as well. And Barbara as well. She was my mentor on EastEnders. Seeing her living with it is tough.
“It just takes peoples’ lives. It’s rubbish.”
Kellie believes the government are to blame for the underinvestment in patient care for those suffering.
“They hold the purse strings. If they can bail out the banks, I’m pretty sure they could find some money to fund research. It really annoys me,” she said.
“Soaps and things will be tackling it more now that it’s in the public consciousness.
“It’s great that people are starting to talk about it, Vicky McClure did that lovely documentary as well about the choir.
“TV has a responsibility too but really it lies within the government.”
Kellie will be joined by Chris Evans’ PA Hiten Vora among many other friends and insists it’s not about completing the full distance.
“Chris has been really great with raising awareness. He ran with us for Dementia Revolution this year as well.
“You can sign up in the last minute. Don’t feel like you have to do the whole thing, even if you just do 10K that’s great.
“It’s not running, so that’s good.”
The actress is looking forward to visiting a former colleague on Saturday, provided she finishes in time.
“I think it’s going to take me about eight hours.
“I hope so because I’m going to see Emma (Barton) in Strictly in the evening!”
Money raised through Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society find a cure, improve care and support people affected by dementia – register now here.