AN ANDOVER woman is gearing up for a 40-mile ultra marathon challenge on to raise money for Dementia UK.

Gemma Clinch, 37, will take on the big challenge on April 6 as part of the Ultra Marathon organised by Testway Ultra.

Her motivation for the challenge is deeply personal.

"My grandma only passed away a couple of weeks ago, and my grandpa passed away two years ago, both from dementia,” Gemma said.

“From that side of the family, it’s been very hard.

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Andover Advertiser: Gemma with her grandma Shirley Clinch who passed away two weeks ago from dementia; Right: Gemma"It's obviously difficult on the people who are trying to care for them, and especially when they forget who you are. I think that's incredibly sad when they start not recognising their children and their grandchildren and not even recognising each other.

“They were both in the same care home, but they didn't have any idea who each other was.”

Gemma, who also has a remaining grandparent currently living with dementia, hopes that by running the ultra-marathon she can raise awareness of the condition and the impact it has on families.

She is also looking to raise funds for Dementia UK.

Gemma added: "I know a lot of people have dementia in their lives, and some people don't talk about it very often because it's quite an emotional subject. I think the more people know there's help out there, the better.

“There is help out there and I think that's why I wanted to run this event to raise awareness. Support is available for people affected by dementia, the family members involved. Because dementia does have such a knock on effect for the family as well.”

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She is a member of Andover running group Muddy Runners, and has been training for the challenge.

"I'm training five days a week," she said.

"At weekends I'm joined by some wonderful running friends from Muddy Runners, and midweek I do strength training at AFS CrossFit in Andover. It's a busy few months but I'm looking forward to the challenge and it's the least I can do to try and raise awareness and funds for this important charity."

Gemma's fundraising page can be found here: