Jamie Neill stands on top of a munro


Alzheimer Scotland’s Change Dementia fundraising campaign aims to inspire the public to help change dementia during the national dementia charity’s 40th anniversary year, by signing up to an event, or by raising vital funds locally, to help support people living with dementia.

Anyone can take part in Change Dementia in 2020, by signing up to a sponsored run, walk or zipline event, by taking part in a head shave or by holding a bake sale. There is something for everyone and all abilities.

Jamie Neill (35) from Hamilton turned the heartache of losing his grandad to dementia by setting himself a personal challenge of ‘5 for 35’ to mark his 35th birthday. The former Scottish badminton internationalist went on to successfully climb 40 Munros in just 7 days as well as swimming, running, hiking and cycling at events and his own personal challenges throughout the year, all to honour the memory of his grandad as well as raising over £4000 for Alzheimer Scotland.

Jamie’s adventures took him on a solo West Highland Way from Milngavie to Fort William (96 miles), then the Bravehearts Scotsathlon – a 1.5 mile swim across Loch Lomond, a 974 metre hike up Ben Lomond and finishing with a 40 mile cycle around Ben Lomond.

Next up was the 40 Munros in 7 days which saw Jamie hike 40 Munros in one week with his friend Kyle Longmuir by his side. Soon after this Jamie was on the saddle for the two-day Mallaig to Hamilton (160 miles) bike ride.

The next stage of Jamie’s challenge took him oversees to Morocco to complete 3 of the highest peaks (over 4000 metres high) in Africa over 8 days on a guided trek alongside 15 friends.

Looking back Jamie is thrilled to have completed his challenges and to have raised over £4000 over the year. Jamie said: “My 5 for 35 challenge was initially an idea around setting myself a fitness goal when I turned 35 and it quickly grew from there really. Some challenges were set up by other people, and I was joining in, but others I set myself. Following my grandad’s experiences of dementia, I wanted to commit to Alzheimer Scotland, to make my efforts worthwhile for others. I also hoped to encourage more people to get out more in Scotland for their own health.

“My Grampa coached me in badminton in my early years and mentored me for the rest of his life. He drove me to training and competitions around Scotland and flew to Denmark to watch me compete in the Under 19 European Championships. We would spend hours analysing my matches on video during school lunchtimes and after school. When I won the Scottish Men’s Doubles title and represented Scotland as senior from 2010, I knew it made him proud. Unfortunately he never knew much about my outdoor pursuits but I know he would have been delighted with all I have achieved.

“I’ve loved fundraising for Alzheimer Scotland over the past year and delighted that I smashed my target. I have some amazing memories to take away from the challenges especially those from Morocco. I was blown away with all the messages of support I received, the whole process really opened my eyes. In 2020 I hope to go on and complete all 282 Munros and maybe take part in new expedition. I felt proud to wear the purple and represent the charity and would encourage others to get outdoors in 2020.”

Sa Craig, Head of Corporate Partnerships and Events from Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We have been blown away by Jamie’s adventures over the past year and for his many successes. With over 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland, it is our biggest health and social care challenge and it isn’t going to go away. We’re so grateful to Jamie for choosing to support Alzheimer Scotland by raising vital funds to help us to change dementia and to everyone who supported her fundraising efforts. “

In the 40 years since Alzheimer Scotland began its first activities in Scotland, demand for our local supports is as high as ever and we calling on the public to join us throughout 2020 to help spread the Alzheimer Scotland purple far and wide at sporting events and local fundraising activities and together we can make sure that nobody faces dementia alone.”

Join #TeamAlzscot in 2020 and together we can Change Dementia. Whether you’re taking on the ultimate challenge in 2020, or looking for a fun way to fundraise, there is something for everyone to take part in. Visit Change Dementia at www.alzscot.org/changedementia or click below for a full list of Alzheimer Scotland’s sponsored events. Alternatively if you have your idea for a fundraising event our events fundraising team can support you, email [email protected] 

Find out more about our fundraising events

A team of fundraisers jump up