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Wincanton Area Parkinson's Group Reviews A Busy Awareness Week

Monday 7 May 2012, 10:50
By Stephen Beech

This year Parkinson's UK held their annual Parkinson's Awareness week from the 16th to 22nd April 2012. Parkinson's disease is an incurable, progressive, neurological disease which attacks and kills brain cells that are responsible for the production of dopamine. Dopamine controls the passage if signals from the brain to instruct muscles to move in on orderly fashion. When dopamine is not present, then the signals are sent to different muscles in the body involuntary and without selection.

It affects movement, facial expressions, standing, causes sudden freezing, falls and memory reduction. It was called by the public the "Old Person Illness". It is estimated that there are over 127,000 suffers in the UK, and it is estimated that a new case is diagnosed every four minutes.

Parkinson's Awareness Week is used to inform and raise funds from the public for further research into a cure for this disease.

Rita Worth and husband Bill

This year one female member of Wincanton Area Parkinson's Group, Rita Worth, 70 years young and from Castle Cary (who was diagnosed with Parkinson's four years ago), volunteered and completed a parachute jump in aid of Parkinson's, "Find A Cure".

The practice and jump took place at Netheravon Airfield, Wiltshire. On the 14th April, Rita and her husband Bill met at the airfield with other suffers and representatives from Parkinson's UK. They were given approximately 30 minutes instruction by the Charity CHALLENGE, to ascertain their fitness to do the parachute jump. Rita passed with flying colours. Due to poor weather conditions the jump was delayed. The weather conditions did not improve and the jump was postponed for the day.

On the 15th April Rita and Bill returned to Netheravon, where the weather was windy and cold, but suitable for a parachute jump. Rita and the other jumpers were loaded into a Cessna Caravan light plane. As the plane climbed to over 10,000 feet, Rita was strapped to an experienced jumper, and sat back to look at the view. Rita says that she could see the outline of the Isle of White quite clearly. When they were at the right height Rita and the trained parachutist (young good-looking chap Rita said), were moved to the side door of the plane. Before she knew it she was in free fall with the young man guiding them both through the air. The parachute opened and they glided to the ground, all too soon landing on the airfield. Rita says it was the thrill of a lifetime.

Rita hopes to raise over £1,000 towards Parkinson's "Find a Cure." Her husband Bill said, "I am very proud of her". So are we all in the group.

Promotion for young Wincanton Area Parkinson's Group

Steve Beech and Steve FordEven though it was the busiest week in the year for Parkinson's UK, on the 18th April Mr Steve Ford, Chief Executive Officer of Parkinson's UK, came from London to our group meeting in Wincanton and partook of the Tai Chi lesson that was taking place. After the lesson Mr Ford spoke to the members about the progress and direction he wanted Parkinson's UK to move in the next few years.

Mr Ford then spoke about the admiration he had for this group as it had travelled a long way in such a short time since the founder of the group, Steve Beech, started the sub group. He praised Steve and all the committee members for all their hard work they had put in to make such a successful group in only 16 months. Steve Ford than read out a letter of thanks to Steve and this officially changed Wincanton & Area Parkinson's Group, a sub branch of North Dorset Branch, to a fully recognised Support Group of Parkinson's Uk, with the new name of "Wincanton Area Parkinson's Group" A very proud day for all members.

Information and Display Event

On the 19th April the group held an Information and Advice display at Morrison's supermarket, Wincanton from 08.30am to 5.00pm, where it raised over £590 for Parkinson's UK "Find A Cure". We could not have done it without the support of Morrison's, and the fantastic effort and support of the shoppers at Morrisons; My praise and thanks go to the shoppers for their generosity. This was the best every collection in the groups history.

Our Next Big Fundraising Event

Please support our next big fundraising event, a concert entitled "Jubilee Jubilate" on Saturday 19th May at Caryford Hall Ansford at 7.30pm.The Mill Singers are an accomplished male voice choir so a great evening's entertainment is expected. Details in the poster below.

Jubilee concert poster

For more information about the Wincanton Area Parkinson's Group contact Mr Stephen Beech, Group Co-ordinator, Wincanton Area Parkinson's Group, 01963 824854, Mob 0771 8662053, .


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