A Penicuik woman picked up a national award recently for helping people living with dementia to get outdoors and feel better about themselves.
Sandra Brown (74)is a carer for her husband Jim (76) who has dementia, but still finds time to lead weekly walks for Volunteer Midlothian’s Dementia Friendly Walking group.
She was recognised for this work recently when she picked up Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Walking Volunteer of the Year 2017 award.
She said: “It was really humbling. I think a lot of people deserved it more than me but it was really great to get it.
“I enjoy volunteering until they thrust a microphone in my face for things like this. I’m not used to that, I just like to plod along and get things done. The award is for the group. We had a few of them there, we went in a minibus. Everybody enjoyed their day out, there was quite a few that went with me which was great.
“This groups has led to another group in Penicuik Library, which started off as dominos and cards but now does artwork and all sorts.
“So, it’s great to have these groups as there is not really anything to do.”
Sandra enjoys helping the group of around 12, which walks for more than an hour every Wednesday from Penicuik House assisted by two rangers and three volunteers.
She said: “My husband has Alzheimer’s and a lung infections so we went along to one of the walks, then I ended up getting into volunteering.
“I enjoy it because it helps me too, as I had problems with my back and hips and they have improved since.
“I have found that people not walking very well are getting better and talking more. People notice things more now, it sharpens the mind. If they cut back more of these things people will feel sorry for themselves and be going to the doctors more.”
Margaret Bryan from Volunteer Midlothian nominated Sandra for this award. She said: “Sandra doesn’t just help lead the group, she also makes sure that people living with dementia can attend by offering lifts to and from the venue.
“And she developed a peer support network for its’ members to share advice with each other. While she is also an excellent communicator, patient, kind and very much a ‘can do’ person.”