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Diss and Eye Parkinson's support group are appealing for help

A support group which helps people with Parkinson’s disease is appealing for help to keep its members active - with a spot of shadow boxing.

Caroline Walker at the St Henry Morse Roman Catholic Church. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Caroline Walker at the St Henry Morse Roman Catholic Church. Picture by Mecha Morton.

The Diss and Eye Parkinson’s support group learnt recently that funding from the national Parkinson’s UK organisation will be cut, which will mean it can no longer run exercise classes.

Exercise is one of the aids to help people with Parkinson’s, the symptoms of which include tremor, rigidity, and postural instability – also referred to as parkinsonism.

The club is the only support group outside Norwich and Ipswich and was set up officially three years ago by Caroline Walker from Diss, who has lived with the condition for the last 17 years.

It has 30 members and holds monthly support meetings in Diss for people living with the condition, their partners and carers, and also holds weekly exercise classes in Eye, which may have to stop.

One of the exercises the group is hoping to introduce, if enough money can be raised to save classes, is shadow boxing.

“Exercise is vital and at the moment we have a trained professional come and lead the classes in which we do repetitive exercises for an hour and which really do help in keeping the blood flowing,” said Caroline, 67, a former teaching centre co-ordinator.

“We would like to raise enough money to help pay for the tutor and also introduce shadow boxing classes, which are not only great fun, but one of the techniques used to aid mobility, balance and co-ordination.”

The Diss and Eye Parkinson’s group meets at the St Henry Morse Roman Catholic Church in Diss. The exercises classes are held in Eye community centre but the group is looking to move to the Hartismere community rooms to save costs.

It is looking to raise around £2,000 which will pay for an exercise tutor for the next year.

“I set up the group after I moved from Guildford five years ago and was shocked to find there wasn’t a Parkinson’s support group around here,” said Caroline.

“I contacted Parkinson’s UK and they helped us form the group but we always knew that at some point we would have to raise funds ourselves.”

Diss Waveney Rotary Club recently donated £400 towards the exercise classes. Anyone wishing to help out can contact Caroline at carolinemawalker@icloud.com or on 01379 309367.

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