Rotary club raises £23,000 for dementia research in member’s memory

TBH LP - Image 4

By Philip Tubby | Wednesday 07 December 2016

Ambleside Kirkstone Rotary Club has raised over £23,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK after losing one of its members to dementia.

The club collected over £2,500 with a duck race in September, which saw more than 2,000 rubber ducks taking part. However, when the club came to present the cheque in November, they surprised the charity with a much bigger sum – £23,100 – thanks to a gift from a mystery, anonymous donor.

Mary and John Stevenson

Mary and John Stevenson


The club chose to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Research UK in support of John Stevenson, one of their members. He was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of just 52. Sadly, he died the day before the duck race, at the age of 69.

His wife and fellow club member, Mary Stevenson, cared for him at home for 11 years. He had to move into care in the later stages of the disease. Mary, 73, said:

“John was a chartered surveyor with his own business. He was also very active and loved running, so his diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s was very unexpected. However, he was always determined to raise awareness of the condition and worked hard to do this.

“When it was suggested that we should raise money as a club for a dementia charity, I agreed, but only if it was dementia research. It’s the only thing that’s going to beat the condition.”

John and Mary’s daughter, Rebecca Peak, recently gave birth to her first child. The day before her dad died, one of his carers acquired a fetal Doppler so that he could listen to the baby’s heartbeat before he passed away.

Allison Peak, Rebecca’s mother-in-law and founding member of the Rotary club, has been friends with John and Mary for many years. The 64-year-old, who lives in Ambleside, said:

“John and Mary have been fantastic campaigners for dementia awareness ever since I’ve known them. John’s passing the day before the race made the day particularly poignant, but I’m so pleased we’ve been able to give such a fantastic donation to Alzheimer’s Research UK.”

Mary presented the cheque to Gillian Edwards, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, during a special evening, which was closed with a reading from Rebecca.

ARUK's Gillian Edwards receiving a cheque from Mary Stevenson

ARUK’s Gillian Edwards receiving a cheque from Mary Stevenson


Gillian said:

“We are so incredibly thankful to the Ambleside Kirkstone Rotary Club for their generous donation. These funds will help us in our quest to find effective treatments and preventions for dementia, a condition which 225,000 people in the UK will develop this year.”

For more information about the Ambleside Kirkstone Rotary Club, visit

For further information about the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or go to

About the author

Philip Tubby