MY STORY by Keith Eastwood

I was born in Huddersfield on 5th August 1942 that makes me 73 this year. I was brought up in the same village and went to the same scout troop as Harold Wilson of prime minister fame.

I went through scouting to Rover scouts, and then with a group of Rover friends we formed a mountain rescue team, which went from strength to strength and later became the Woodhead Team. In 2003 I was awarded the Queens Golden Jubilee medal for services to mountain rescue.

I left school after O levels and continued my education part time to gain qualifications in chemistry. I went into research and development for Mintex, part of the British Belting and Asbestos Group in Cleckheaton,  and went on to develop asbestos-free brake linings.

I met Jacqui in 1963 when her Ranger Guide group needed some men to partner them on a Scottish Country Dancing Course!

We got engaged in 1966 while on holiday in Austria and married in 1967.

Our daughter was born in 1970 and our son in1973; we now have four grandchildren.

In 1971 I attended a course for a part time Ranger Service in the Peak District, as we only lived a few miles away from the top end of the Peak. When I passed the course I volunteered for the Ranger Service doing alternate Sundays at different centres in the National Park. I then applied for a part-time position and was accepted working first at Crowden in Longden Dale and then at Dovestones near Saddleworth Moor, where I stayed until we moved to Derby in 2008 to be near our daughter and grandsons.

I was made redundant from my full time job in 1999. Soon after I went to work for Sainsburys on the tills; this suited me well as it involved meeting and helping people just like my work in the National Park. I retired after nine years when we moved.

After moving to Derby I started to feel unwell, I had aches in my arms and legs and started dragging my feet when I walked and I was getting slower in everyday tasks, and had difficulty with speaking and some memory problems .

I went to my GP with a list of symptoms and he thought it may be Parkinson’s. He sent me to the Royal Derby Hospital, where I had scans, and was diagnosed in June 2011.

Jacqui went on to the web site and discovered the support group that meet at the Spot. We have had wonderful help and support and we have joined in with groups we have been offered. We go to the singing group and are on the Derby Branch Committee, we have made new friends for which we are thankful.

I started going to SpARCS and have had lots of help and support from the specialist team and the atmosphere is so welcoming, warm and friendly, so thank you for that.

I was told exercise was good for people with Parkinson’s. I try to exercise regularly and still enjoy walking. My walks are much shorter now but I can still enjoy the fresh air and scenery.

After being diagnosed and my acceptance of Parkinson’s, we decided to try the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail. To date we have walked from the Derwent Mouth to Matlock in stages and hope to do some more going north in the spring.

Keith Eastwood; February 2015