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Jersey Parkinson's Association celebrates 30th birthday

The party in full swing at Government House. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey Parkinson's Association is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

The charity has now been helping people with the disease and their families for over three decades, offering advice, counselling and support as well as a host of activities.

The milestone is being marked with a party at Government House, featuring a raffle, music and celebrations.

Eileen Smith is the chair of Jersey Parkinson's Association. She has held the role for fifteen years, but has been part of the charity since it was set up in 1989.

Eileen Smith is the chair of Jersey Parkinson's Association Credit: ITV Channel TV

I think it's magnificent. I think it's an achievement in itself when an organisation can say it's been in existence for 30 years and to think that we've remained a voluntary organisation throughout is a testament to the commitment that a lot of people have made.

– Eileen Smith, Chair of Jersey Parkinson's Association

She says the charity gives people an important escape from the difficulties of the disease.

A diagnosis of Parkinson's is going to turn anyone's world upside down - not only the person being diagnosed but also husband and wife, who will become their carer as the illness progresses.

They know that they're not alone and if they come along, we're quite a bright bunch and we're happy, so if we can take them out of their home for two or three hours in a day, that they can keep socialising, that's very, very important.

– Eileen Smith, Chair of Jersey Parkinson's Association

The charity runs classes including keep fit to music, free gym sessions and Zumba, as well as hosting monthly lunches to support sufferers and their families. They also fund transport for those attending to make sure they can get involved.

Yvonne was diagnosed with Parkinson’s ten years ago. She says the work the charity does to keep her active is invaluable.

Yvonne Mahoney says the work that Jersey Parkinson's Association does has been invaluable since her diagnosis. Credit: ITV Channel TV

We pay a sub once a year, very little. They do so much for us. They tell you it helps you and I think they’re right, it does. You could just sit and mope about it but that’s not going to do you any good at all.

I just think, "keep going, go for it." It's not going to do you any harm at all, and it might help you a lot.

– Yvonne Mahoney

Yvonne says research into the disease is important but that it comes with challenges.

I think there should be a lot more research but they're getting there, slowly. We send money to the English branch to help them in their research. It's like every illness, isn't it? You have to try and find out why and do something about it, but it's not an easy thing to do.

– Yvonne Mahoney