John and his bike at Markeaton Park

My Story - by John Straw

I was a successful artist for 32 years prior to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s 4.5 years ago at the age of 69.  

I did not paint for over two years and then, at a local Parkinson’s Awareness event I met Carole Bagnall, a fellow patient, who encouraged me to try again.  I owe Carole a big vote of thanks as this year my picture of three sparrows entitled ‘Cheerful Charlies’ was highly commended in the Parkinson’s Mervyn Peake awards.  It appears in the 2017 calendar and will be used on a selection of merchandise. The calendar also includes a photograph I took of a sheep entitled ‘Who Might Ewe Be’ which was shortlisted in the photography section. In addition, Parkinson’s UK is using one of my paintings of a robin in this year’s Christmas cards.  

Cheerful Charlies by John Straw

Giving up driving was hard for me as my hobby had been classic cars.  Last year I went on the Cycle Derby 6 week course and riding a bike has given me more mobility and freedom, albeit on two wheels.  I have now purchased a folding bike which we can take on our travels and I can ride anywhere.

Our grandson William (aged 4) also keeps me busy and he is a lovely lad!  We often ride our bikes together and we also enjoy working (and playing) in the garden.  I have been working on the same garden for 47 years and that is also a wonderful therapy for me.

My wife Jill is my Carer among many other things and I could not be in better hands.  Next year is our Golden Wedding Anniversary!  Thank you, Jill, for everything.

John and William


John's Garden