Singer hits right notes to help South Tyneside’s Parkinson’s support group

Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum. From left Parkinson's UK branch John Shone and fundraiser Graham Todd
Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum. From left Parkinson's UK branch John Shone and fundraiser Graham Todd

A singer is continuing his quest to boost the profile of a South Tyneside-based Parkinson’s support group that helps his family.

Graham Todd, frontman of Rivelino, has taken the charity to his heart after experiencing first hand to the help they provide to those diagnosed with the long-term degenerative disorder.

Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum.

Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum.

His wife Lynne was diagnosed with Parkinson’s six years ago and together they have come to rely on the support given by the group.

Earlier this month, Graham, with the help of his bandmates - which includes the couple’s son Neil - hosted a night of music at the White Horse in Quarry Lane, which raised £1,424 for the cause.

Mr Todd, from South Shields, is now keen to see the group thrive after seeing the benefits it gives to members already accessing its services.

But with numbers of volunteers falling, he is calling out for more people to get involved to ensure its long-term success for those who need it.

It would be a shame to think there could be people out there in need of the services but have no idea the group exists.

Graham Todd

The South Tyneside branch of Parkinson’s UK was launched in 2013 by a small group of volunteers. It currently has around 20-30 members.

Mr Todd said: “The service and support the group give to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s and their families is invaluable.

“The night of fundrasing was important not just to raise funds but to raise the profile of the group.

“We had a really good turnout and handed out a lot of leaflets, so hopefully it will get the word out there about the group.

Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum.

Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum.

“It would be a shame to think there could be people out there in need of the services but have no idea the group exists.”

The group provides support for people with Parkinson’s and their partners and carers through information sharing, one-to-one support, campaigning for services on their behalf and raising awareness of the disease.

Guest speakers are also invited along to the group while exercises classes are held on Mondays in South Shields and on Wednesdays in Hebburn.

John Shone, branch secretary said: “We have welcomed the generosity of Terry and Cath Power of The White Horse, and the band Rivelino, in giving us this chance to raise funds to help local people with Parkinson’s manage the problems faced by them on a day to day basis.

Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum. Parkinson's UK branch John Shone

Parkinson's support exercise group at South Shields Museum. Parkinson's UK branch John Shone

“As important as any cash raised on the evening, it was also an opportunity to raise awareness of the disease which currently affects several hundred people in South Tyneside alone.

“To help us, continue our work, we are appealing for help in recruiting new members for our committee to assist in whatever ways they can.”

The charity and band thanked business across South Tyneside who donated goods to be raffled on the night including Barbours Foundation, Halfords. Customs House, Pets at Home. Littlehaven, The Gym at Crossgate, Spa Fusion and The White Horse.

The next meeting of Parkinson’s UK South Tyneside branch will be the AGM and will take place on Thursday at South Shields Museum, in Ocean Road, from 2-3.30pm.

For more details on the branch contact Mr Shone on 07564 278 020 or for the exercise classes, held on Mondays at the museum and at Hebburn Central on Wednesdays, call Zoe Glendenning on 07470 470 297.