THE Newbury branch of Parkinson’s UK celebrated 25 years of providing support to people affected by the condition by holding a tea party.
More than 120 people attended the event, which was held at Park House School on Thursday, April 13.
Guests included branch president, Lady Howard de Walden, West Berkshire Council chairman Quentin Webb, Newbury mayor Julian Swift-Hook and Thatcham mayor Ellen Crumly.
They were welcomed by David Russell, the chairman of the Newbury branch, who started by giving a short history of the branch over the years.
Parkinson’s is a progressive and debilitating neurological condition, for which there is currently no cure.
A common symptom associated with Parkinson’s is tremor, but not everyone with the condition experiences it.
As it advances, people with Parkinson’s develop various movement difficulties and often require the support of carers.
The Parkinson’s branch provides a range of support services, from exercise classes to other therapies, as well as monthly meetings and outings.
Mr Russell said: “The [Newbury] branch provides people with Parkinson’s the opportunity to meet with others and to learn from each other on how best to cope with different conditions.
“Carers and other family members are welcome also and can talk to each other about issues in common.
“We have two groups, one which meets during the day and one that meets in the evening.
“Members can attend either or both, but the latter recognises that some Parkinson’s people still work and they find it more difficult to attend during the day.”
The tea party heard from Professor Stephanie Cragg, from the University of Oxford, who gave a description of what causes Parkinson’s and the research work into the condition that is currently going on.
Following a break for afternoon tea and cake, Paul Mayhew-Archer – who was a scriptwriter for the Vicar of Dibley and is now contributing to All Round to Mrs Brown’s – gave an entertaining and humorous talk.
Mr Mayhew-Archer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011, but he offers an alternative angle on dealing with his condition.
Mr Russell said: “Our objective is to cease to exist when a cure is found – we certainly would not want to be here in another 25 years.
“If we can raise the support again, we may look to holding similar events in the next few years.”
Hogan Music provided the sound system for the tea party and the whole event was made possible by a grant from the One Stop stores retail chain.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the support available should email email@example.com