EVERY year, on a Sunday afternoon in late summer, I walk round a Bradford park with my mum’s name pinned to my back.

I’m joined by a throng of people of all ages and abilities - some with toddlers in pushchairs, some with dogs on leads, some in wheelchairs, and some walking alongside friends and family. Like me, they wear the name of a loved one, handwritten on a piece of card.

The atmosphere at the Bradford Memory Walk is fun and uplifting. There’s live music, a bit of a warm-up, bottles of water handed out. Some folk turn out in fancy dress, rattling buckets. There’s a sense of unity that I find very moving - we are walking in memory of people with dementia that we have known and loved, or continue to know and love. Some of the people taking part have dementia themselves.

On Sunday I will once again be stepping out for the Bradford Memory Walk, in Lister Park. It’s not a Marathon, it’s not a mass of feather boas, stetsons and face glitter (although feel free to work the feathers if that’s your thing). It’s simply a walk, allowing time for quiet reflection, a chat and a few laughs. And it's a chance to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society.

I have written before about my mum’s dementia. She wasn’t much older than me when she was diagnosed with what we now call early onset dementia. Unless you’ve experienced the reality of this you probably won’t understand it. I have good, supportive friends, but most have no idea what it’s like to see the person you love most fade away before your eyes. Your mother is barely 60 and you’re dressing, washing and feeding her, soothing her when she’s screaming in despair or has fallen in a crumpled mess, and helping her on the toilet - and she doesn’t even know your name.

You never come to terms with it, but you crack on with life after loss, like everyone else does. But not a day goes by when I don’t think of how she was before dementia.

This week I spoke to a lovely woman, Sadie Graves, whose mother had dementia. Like my mum, she was diagnosed in her 50s, and died in her 70s. Like me, Sadie lost her beloved mum gradually, piece by piece. “She used to look at me and say, ‘I don’t know you, but you’re very nice’,” said Sadie. Like me, Sadie felt guilty for sometimes being impatient with her mum. One of the saddest things for Sadie was that her mum didn’t get to enjoy her grandchildren. “The younger ones just knew her as poorly grandma, they didn’t know her before dementia,” she said.

Talking to Sadie, I could relate to everything she was saying. Initially her mum was wrongly diagnosed with depression, as mine was. The turning point came when her mum forgot to bake a birthday cake for her son’s first birthday. “I told the doctor, ‘That’s not normal behaviour for her’, but it took two years to get a diagnosis,” said Sadie.

Sadie, like me, was shocked to discover that dementia is a terminal illness. “I couldn’t believe it when they told me she was dying,” she said.

Like many others affected by dementia, Sadie and her family support Bradford Memory Walk. I’ve met several people on the walk, each with their own story. One woman lost both her husband and son to dementia. What unites us is celebrating those we have lost, and those who are still with us. My mum was robbed of her memories, but I still have mine. And, for me, that’s what the Memory Walk is about - remembering the person you loved, and being thankful for them.

* Bradford Memory Walk is at Lister Park on Sunday. Registration is from 10am.

* BACK to school - finally. And what a lot of fuss has been made this week, with teachers sharing their misery all over Facebook. A friend admitted to "having a little cry" on returning to the classroom after a summer of leisurely walks and supping prosecco in the garden on 'school nights'.

My "I couldn't care less" shrug (I've known her long enough to get away with that) said it all, having spent my summer in a sweltering office. Now it's my turn to be smug - I may not get six whole weeks off, but I can book my holidays when there are no pesky kids around, and the flights are cheap. Cheers!

* IS it obligatory to have a mid-life crisis?

I keep hearing about people my age and younger hitting the middle life "What's it all about?" stumbling block, and I wonder when my turn is coming. I've been alive for longer than I've got left, I've spent my adult life working fulltime, with no career break, and I've had more than my share of stressful upheavals in recent years.

I read recently about a TV personality who had his crisis in his forties. The ambition and drive that fuelled him as a younger man left him feeling burnt out and numb. I think the key is recognising that feeling and deciding if it's something you need help with, or can work through yourself.

What I feel, growing older, is a sense of borrowed time. And a need to live in the moment.