Brian and Liz during the Clay Therapy Session,
International Parkinson’s Congress, Montreal, October 2013.
BRIAN & LIZ GREAVES: OUR STORY
My name is Brian Greaves and I was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, in 1949. I began my 33-year career at Rolls Royce as an apprentice in 1966. Another event occurred in 1966.......Liz (now my wife) and I met at a mutual friend's party and were married four years later. We now have two sons, both married, one in Doncaster and the other in Banff National Park, Canada.
Liz was born in Yorkshire in 1947. She came to work at Morley Manor near Smalley, which was then a Dr. Barnardos Home for babies and children under the age of 7. It was here she trained to become a Nursery Nurse and she has worked with children throughout her life.
All those years at Rolls Royce were spent in the electronic measurement department where we measured the performance of their large range of aero-engines at the test facilities.
Meanwhile, Liz worked at Morley Manor until 1971 when she stayed at home to look after our children. As they grew older, Liz transferred to the local playgroup, then worked at a centre for children with disabilities and in the educational nurseries in Derby as a Nursery Nurse.
In 1996 she took up the position of Manager at the White House Children’s Nursery in Spondon and within three years we were asked if we would like to run the nursery as our own business. I had always wanted to run my own business and it felt good to be given the opportunity now. It was a scary time but very fulfilling, especially as I gave up Rolls Royce in 2000 to work full time at the nursery. I ran the business side whilst Liz looked after the educational side. We had 33 young women working for us ( men, can you imagine that!!!) but it was an incredible experience and we were one happy family. I had no regrets about leaving Rolls Royce.
In 2005 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s which was a terrible blow. I knew something was wrong for almost two years before diagnosis and so in a sense it was a relief to discover what was wrong, but now we were on a new journey. Once on medication things improved for a while and we carried on as if nothing was amiss. However as time went on I found paper work, and computing difficult to do. ( Not a good thing when you are responsible for sorting staff wages!!!!) I was beginning to find it hard to concentrate and my writing had become almost illegible. People were very supportive, however in 2010 when I was 62 we took the decision to retire early . Someone else took over the nursery and it has gone from strength to strength which is good to know.
I started to go to Branch meetings just before we retired and was impressed with the way everyone made me feel so welcome. Liz joined me once we had retired.
I went on to the committee and then Liz joined me and eventually took over as chairperson in 2011. Coming to the meetings has given us a new lease of life, we have made such a wonderful set of friends and we find people to be so friendly and supportive. I help at Dr Bajaj’s clinic by talking with those who have just been diagnosed . I understand what it is like to be given the diagnosis and to go home not knowing anything about Parkinson’s. I wanted to help others in the same situation, and have found providing this assistance very rewarding.
I also did a lot of wood turning before diagnosis and have a great workshop at home. I am grateful that I have so far been able to keep up with my hobby, which keeps me out of mischief! There is life after diagnosis after all!