Hannah jumps at chance to start challenge

A UK woman taking on challenges to raise awareness of dementia said Guernsey was a fitting place to start.

Hannah Mackay, 36, kicked off her 10 challenges and fundraisers in 10 days with a splash – flying to Guernsey for her first challenge.

She was joined by her mum Claire Pearse, 60, for coasteering, led by Outdoor Guernsey’s Dom Ehmann at Le Gouffre.

‘I’m terrified but excited at the same time, it’s something I’ve never done before,’ said Ms Mackay

‘Because Guernsey was so special for my dad, starting the challenges here was really important.’

Ms Mackay’s father was born in Guernsey and lived on the island until the age of two.

After that, he visited every summer until he was 16 and loved the island’s coast.

At 61, he was diagnosed with frontal temporal dementia in 2017.

Ms Mackay’s grandfather passed away in his mid-fifties from the disease.

After finding out the cause was genetic, Ms Mackay decided to find out whether she too carries the gene, and she does.

She, and her two children, are therefore also at risk.

‘What I want to get across to dementia patients and families is that life is for living.

‘It’s about creating memories.’

Hannah Mackay, right, is raising money for dementia charities by taking on challenges around the UK. Yesterday she was coasteering with Outdoor Guernsey at Le Gouffre. Pictured with her are mum Claire Pearse, and Outdoor Guernsey’s Dom Ehmann. (Picture By Peter Frankland, 25962171)

Her challenges are raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

While in Guernsey Ms Mackay and her mother paid a visit to a group of carers who support dementia patients and the Alzheimer’s cafe.

‘People can follow the challenges on Instagram by searching #hannahbeatingdementia, it’s a way to share it with everyone which I think is such a special thing to be able to do.’

Ms Mackay said to have her mother do some of the challenges alongside her was also special.

The duo recently did a 12,500ft skydive.

‘I’m so proud of her. We’re doing it for her dad, and for Hannah and for people in our situation,’ said Mrs Pearse.

‘We want to stop this happening to other families.’

Mrs Pearse said today’s challenge was the first time she had even put a wetsuit on.

‘I’m absolutely terrified but the whole idea is to get out of your comfort zone.’

The challenge lasted about two hours.

‘We’ll start at the harbour and make our way left towards the cliffs there. There’s usually good parts there for some start jumps,’ said Mr Ehmann.

The route also took them to a cave, with more jumps towards the end.

Although nerves were high, the challenge went well.

‘It was really amazing, brilliant. We loved every second,’ said Ms Mackay.

‘It was a beautiful day, the water was lovely and warm.

‘I just want to come and do it again.’

Ms Mackay said her mum also enjoyed the experience.

This evening the pair will fly to Gatwick. Mrs Pearse will return to the grandchildren while Ms Mackay travels to Cardiff for today’s 03/10 challenge, the world’s fastest zip wire.

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