Miss Scotland reveals heartbreaking story behind why she supports Alzheimer Scotland

The current Miss Scotland, Keryn Matthew from Danderhall, is supporting Alzheimer Scotland for this year's Memory Walk, which takes place on September 18 and 19.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 3:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:01 pm
Keryn Matthew with boyfriend Duncan and her mum and dad.

Keryn is a massive supporter of Alzheimer Scotland because her grandad Stan McConnell had vascular dementia after he suffered a stroke in his early 70s and passed away aged 79 in a care home when she was 18.

Keryn and her family have taken part in the Memory Walk for the past few years at Dalkeith Country Park and plan to do so again this year, with participants encouraged to walk any distance they can, anywhere in the country.

The 26-year-old said: “This disease not only affected my grandad but my whole family, as we struggled to understand the change from a person who was very caring, intelligent and independent to someone we barely recognised.

Keryn Matthew (26) is raising money for Alzheimer Scotland at this year's Memory Walk which takes place in September.

"One of the hardest times for us as a family was when he was no longer able to be looked after at home and was admitted to a care facility.

"To help with visits we made a scrapbook of photographs which told a story of his life and family. I found this helped me and my family so much during visits as he was unable to communicate - it gave us all a common focus.”

Stan worked in finance and was involved in the Danderhall Gala Day each year when Keryn’s mum, Gillian Matthew, was a young girl.

Keryn held a sold out ball at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh last Friday to raise money for Alzheimer’s Scotland. She added: “I knew a stroke was a serious thing and I could see the panic that it caused my family but I didn’t really understand the long-term implications.

Keryn's gran and grandad.

“When I was a bit older I started to realise a bit more and obviously it was tough to see my mum and granny go through that. Ever since he passed away we’ve been doing work for the charity, which started with a collection at his funeral. From a personal level I just want to spread awareness about Alzheimer’s Scotland and the amazing work they do."

Keryn was crowned Miss Scotland in 2019 and was meant to pass on the crown last year but this was postponed due to Covid – making her the longest reigning Miss Scotland. She will now hand the crown over on August 22.

To sign up to Scotland’s Memory Walk, visit: https://memorywalk.alzscot.org/.