Launch of new Parkinson’s Midhurst Support Group is branded a great success

Parkinsons 1During the course of Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2014 which ran across the country from 7th to 13th April, the Chichester and Bognor Regis Branch of Parkinson’s UK launched a new Support Group for those living with Parkinson’s Disease and their carers in and around the Midhurst area. Over 25 people turned up at The Divine Motherhood & St. Francis of Assisi, St. Marys Presbytery Hall in Midhurst on Wednesday 9th April to find out what was on offer.

The new Group was addressed by Jane Renshaw, Parkinson’s UK Regional Manager, who explained how Parkinson’s UK helps over 100,000 people in the UK to cope with what still remains an incurable condition. Chairman of the Chichester and Bognor Regis branch, Ann Wallis explained to the Group how the local Branch helps sufferers through social meetings and outings, the local Trillers Choir, as well as Chair Yoga sessions which help to stimulate movement which can often be a problem for those with Parkinson’s.Parkinsons 2

Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s, a condition which currently has no cure but can have a devastating effect upon the everyday life of sufferers and carers. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which affects the movement of those diagnosed with the condition. It affects people in many different ways and around 1 in 500 people suffer with it. Although the majority of sufferers are aged 50 and over, younger people can get it too. Thankfully, it is not infectious and doesn’t usually run in families.

A frustrating aspect for most sufferers and their carers too, is the fact that the symptoms are not always consistent so some days or hours can be worse or better than others. It can affect the simple things that most of us take for granted, like smiling, speaking clearly, and even just walking. This is due to the gradual death of dopamine producing brain cells which control muscle movement. What often makes things worse is trying to get others to realise that their brain is still functioning well in the realm of understanding, but that it doesn’t seem to send the right movement signals to the body that occur naturally for someone not affected.

Vice-Chairman of the Branch, Carol Tippen who will initially be leading the new Group said “We had an overwhelming response both from those who already come to Chichester to regular Branch Meetings but also from many who we had not seen for a long time and who were keen to support a local Group for people in the Midhurst area. They enthusiastically put their heads together and we already have a programme of events which will take us through to early next year. As well as talks on travel, gardening and some of the practical issues relating to Parkinson’s we are going to begin with a Games Afternoon on May 13th. We are also hoping for sunny weather in July when a cream tea is proposed.

All of our meetings take place at 2 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month (January and August excepted) at The Divine Motherhood & St.Francis of Assisi, St.Marys Presbytery Hall, Bepton Road, Midhurst, GU29 9HD.”

For more details about the new Midhurst Group, please contact Carol on 01243 780442 or by e-mail at

For more information on the local Branch and Parkinson’s UK, contact Ann Wallis, Chairman on 01903 733112 or by e-mail at, or Andy Neve, Newsletter Editor, on 01243 788304 or by e-mail at