Katie Foster, who lives in Newport, was named Volunteer of the Year while Stuart Lambie of Shrewsbury was named Sporting Supporter of the Year in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s inaugural supporter awards.
Katie, 70, is one of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s longest-serving fundraisers and volunteers having supported the charity since 2008.
She was inspired to support dementia research as her father, Tim, who had been a prisoner of war for five years after being captured in the defence of Dunkirk in 1940, died with Alzheimer’s disease.
Katie is Chair of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Shropshire Fundraising Group, which she helped set up in 2017. The group has raised around £115,000. The group was also among the nominees for the Group of the Year Award.
She is also a prominent spokesperson for the charity, sharing her personal experience to inspire others to get involved. She often uses the contacts she made during her previous professional life in heritage, marketing and tourism, including being head of marketing and PR at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and chair of the Telford Tourism Partnership Board, to help promote the charity and the importance of research.
She said: “I was both astonished and delighted to win this award. There are so many other volunteers up and down the country who do so much for this great cause.
“Alzheimer’s Research UK is a wonderful organisation full of dedicated professionals all focusing on ending the heartbreak of dementia and I feel really privileged to be involved with them.
“I couldn’t do anything without such incredible and generous support from so many Shropshire businesses, organisations and individuals who regularly and generously help me and our hardworking fundraising group members. They are so numerous I can’t possibly name them all, but can I just say: Thank you Shropshire!”
Stuart, 63, is a stalwart member of the Alzheimer’s Research UK’s #TeamARUK community of runners and a passionate advocate for the charity’s partnership with parkrun.
Having got into running through parkrun, he began supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK by taking part in the charity’s Running Down Dementia challenge. He has since raised thousands of pounds in honour of his dad, Ian, who died with Alzheimer’s disease in 2020. He ran the 2021 London Marathon and the 2022 Edinburgh Marathon and is aiming to run the London Marathon again in April.
He said: “I’m very honoured and humbled to receive this award and I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way on my running and fundraising journey over the last four-and-a-half years.
“Like thousands of other families, dementia brought sadness and loss to ours, but I’ve been very lucky to have met so many inspiring people through my involvement with Alzheimer's Research UK. Many of these people are now true friends.
“So, this award is for every single member of #TeamARUK who day after day and week after week are out there in every kind of weather, pounding the streets or doing all sorts of other crazy sporting challenges to keep this issue front and centre in the minds of the public.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Supporter Awards shine a spotlight on some of the charity’s most dedicated fundraisers and volunteers, who play a vital role in helping to bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.
The awards were hosted on the charity’s website to ensure as many people as possible were able to celebrate the nominees and winners.
Supporters were nominated in eight categories that display the variety of ways they get involved, with the awards judging panel selecting a winner in each.