Support group plea from Parkinson's man

A Parkinson's disease sufferer and his carer wife today urged others living with the condition to join a support group as part of a drive to raise awareness.

A HUSBAND with Parkinson's disease and his carer wife today urged others living with the condition to join a support group as part of a drive to raise awareness.

Bob Bridgman and his wife and full-time carer Val, of Days Road, Capel St Mary, are both involved with the Ipswich branch of the Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS).

This week is Parkinson's Aaareness Week and the PDS is launching a new DVD, called Being There.

The DVD will answer the questions of people newly diagnosed with the condition and includes interviews with people with Parkinson's, carers, and healthcare professionals.

The charity is also urging people in Suffolk to make use of resources in the area.

Mrs Bridgman, a committee member with the Ipswich support group, said the new DVD will be a big help to people in Suffolk.

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She said: “It's important to make people aware of what's going on and the new DVD will help, particularly the newly diagnosed.

“The support group in Ipswich is flourishing,”

Mr Bridgman, a member of the Lions Club of Ipswich, said: “I'm lucky to have my wife but she is under strain as well and it's important for people to be aware of other help out there.”

The group the Bridgmans are involved with meets on the first Wednesday of the month at the St Johns Conservative Club, Kirby Street, from 7.30pm. Relatives and friends are also welcome.

There is also a Felixstowe group which has monthly meetings.

Until Sunday there will be an information stand at the Co-op Solar store, Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, giving out information.

For more information on services in the area, contact the branch helpline on 07736 251257 or the national PDS helpline on 0808 800 0303.

The PDS is also launching a new website. It includes a new discussion forum for people newly diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Steve Ford, chief executive of the PDS, said: “We want everyone whose life has been touched by Parkinson's to know that the PDS is here to support them.”

N Have you been helped by the PDS or another health group? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

BOB Bridgman was diagnosed with Parkinson's five years ago.

His first symptoms were trembling and being unable to hold objects in his hands still.

His hobbies included working on cars and he discovered difficulties controlling his screwdriver.

He decided to seek advice when he was compering at an event and could not hold the microphone still in either hand.

Mr Bridgman, whose mother Annie had Parkinson's disease, was an engineer with BT but was retired before his diagnosis after a car crash.

Mrs Bridgman gave up work with Suffolk County Catering to look after him full-time.

Mr Bridgman underwent speech therapy after it was affected by the disease, and says it has made a huge difference to his quality of life.

The couple have two daughters - Clare, 33, of Banbury, and Katie, 25, of Kesgrave.

In May, Katie is taking part in a trek across the Great Wall of China to raise money for the Parkinson's Disease Society.

Parkinson's is a progressive, neurological condition affecting 120,000 people in the UK. Approximately 10,000 people are diagnosed each year.

The PDS campaigns for a better quality of life for people with Parkinson's and since 1969 has spent more than £30million researching the causes, prevention, treatment and cure.

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