I CAN’T be doing with that cloying phrase “making memories”. It’s up there with “feeling blessed” and “emotional rollercoaster” in my top ten cliche bugbears.

I guess what really grates about “making memories” is that not everyone ends up with the luxury of a memory.

By the time my mum was in her sixties she didn’t know who I was. She had no memory of my first day at school, my graduation ceremony, birthdays, family holidays, parties, the births of any of her children and later her grandchildren. Early onset dementia robbed her of all that.

She had a vague memory of music, somewhere deep inside her, and since her particularly nasty strain of dementia left her blind, bedridden and unable to speak, music was pretty much her only pleasure in the last decade or so of her life.

My mum was about my age when she was diagnosed with dementia. It’s something I am very aware of whenever I forget what I was doing five minutes ago, can’t remember for the life of me what I came into a room for, or I struggle to name that actor who’s always on the telly. If it’s coming my way, I’d rather not know about it, thanks.

My mum was a happy soul who loved life and threw herself into everything. Nothing fazed her, she packed a lot in, and “made memories”. And in the end she couldn’t remember any of them.

To those of us who’ve watched helplessly as our loved ones gradually faded away in a fog of dementia, it’s the loss of their memories that is perhaps most painful. And we come to realise that memory is not to be taken for granted.

I’m writing this on what would have been my mum’s 80th birthday. It’s a bittersweet milestone, but I take comfort from the happy memories I have of her. And next month I will write her name on a piece of card, next to a forget-me-not logo, pin it to my back and walk in her memory to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity that was a lifeline for my family when we needed it most.

There are 20 Memory Walks organised by the Alzheimer’s Society taking place up and down the country in September and October.

I enjoy the Memory Walks, and the cruel irony is that Mum would’ve enjoyed them too. You meet people with stories to tell - the elderly lady walking for her husband and son, who both had dementia; the young mum whose dad was diagnosed with dementia the day he became a grandfather; the former professional footballer who believed his fate was sealed as a young man repeatedly heading a heavy leather football in training; the retired headteacher who recalled former pupils’ names but couldn’t quite place his daughter; the lorry driver forced to give up his job after discovering he had dementia in his thirties.

We walk together, sharing stories and a bit of a laugh. There’s live music, some people wear fancy dress and shake collection buckets.

“Walk for a world without dementia,” says the Memory Walk blurb. I don’t know about that. According to Alzheimer’s Society research, there are over 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, set to rise to over 1.5 million by 2040. The World Health Organisation says dementia is a global health challenge and it’s not going anywhere.

Dementia is a terminal illness. It took my mum’s life, and her memories, but I still have mine. The Memory Walk isn’t about “making memories”. It’s about remembering the life she led.

* For more about Memory Walk go to alzheimers.org.uk/memorywalk