Lockdown challenge see 'vulnerable' residents complete laps of Leighton Buzzard assisted living complex for dementia charity

Determined residents of an assisted living complex in Leighton Buzzard have been raising money during lockdown for a dementia charity by taking part in their own 2.6 Challenge.

By Steve Sims
Thursday, 14th May 2020, 4:53 pm
Updated Friday, 15th May 2020, 1:05 pm

Diane Carter, 63, who has MS, and Jan Robotham-Taylor, 78, who has lung condition COPD, decided to take on the challenge of completing 26 laps of the grounds of St George's Court within a week.

But when word spread about their endeavours, other residents decided to join them despite suffering with various health conditions which has made the task all the more difficult.

Diane said: "During the Covid-19 pandemic, we became aware of the 2.6 Challenge, so myself and another resident decided to make a challenge for ourselves. We thought let's do it for a bit of fun. Neither of us are in good health and are in the 'protected category' as we are considered to be very vulnerable.

We've done it! Diane Carter and Jan Robotham-Taylor

"The challenge we chose to do was to do 26 laps of our building and garden which we knew would be challenging for us. I've got MS and had to get myself around in a wheelchair. Jan has COPD so it's not easy for her to walk that kind of distance. We gave ourselves a week to complete it and one of the managers here printed out a poster to deliver to all the residents here so everyone would be aware. We did two, three, or four laps each day.

"Once we started the challenge, we did our first couple of laps and other residents became interested, so within the first day or two, another resident asked if she could join us on our walk. We agreed and then the following day another came along. Before we had completed four days towards our challenge, we had about seven or eight residents joining us when they were physically able.

"We have the two of us, a totally blind lady, a lady of 96, another who has severe arthritis, another very frail lady of 70, a quadriplegic man of 50 who had severe brain injury and another lady of 92, previously a doctor, who has severe dementia and although always confused/muddled, each time we explain to her what we are doing and why, we get a huge smile and she enjoys the fresh air when joining us."

Although the majority have completed their 26 laps, there are still a couple to make the finish line, so they are being accompanied on the remainder of their journey by those who have completed the task.

2.6 Challenge participants

Jan suggested the money from their fundraising should go to Dementia Research as her husband is now in Swiss Cottage care home due to his condition. Since lockdown she has been unable to visit or see her husband and has only been able to speak to him the once.

Diane said she hadn't been expecting to make much money, however. "If we got anything I thought it'd be £26," she said. But after a page was set up for them on Go Fund Me, donations came in from residents, their family and friends, and complete strangers - the online total standing at £445 to date. See https://www.gofundme.com/f/26-laps-of-special-care-residence-and-gardensDiane added: "Living in lockdown is difficult not being able to see family and friends. For some people here it's been particular hard."

The other residents who took part were Ann Fox, 72, Joy Hard, 76, Irene Davis 96, Keith 'Weaf' Wallace, 50, Judy Hockin, 80, and Jean Brown, 92.

> The 2.6 Challenge launched nationally on April 26. This should have been the date of the 26-mile London Marathon, but like many other fundraising events it has been postponed to later in the year due to coronavirus. All that people need to do is think of an activity around the number 2.6 or 26.

2.6 Challenge participants
2.6 Challenge at St George's Court
2.6 Challenge at St George's Court