Parkinsons Group of Friends

Who We Are

Welcome to the Parkinson’s group of friends website. 

Our group started out as a group of friends living around the Kent coast area who, amongst other connections, had their lives touched by Parkinson’s Disease. 

The spark that inspired our get togethers was a visit to the University of Kent in January 2022 and hearing about the exciting research they were undertaking into Parkinson’s and their plans to develop a unique Centre for Integrated Therapy for Parkinson’s. We came away with a strong desire to see what we could do to support this initiative and to support, inform, entertain and, where possible, inspire other people (patients, friends, family, therapists, researchers etc.) touched by (or just interested in ) Parkinson’s. 

Whilst not wishing to diminish the seriousness of the condition we also wanted to present a positive face - acknowledging progress in therapies and what people with Parkinson’s can do as much as the problems that have to be faced. Although we set out on this journey from a small area of Kent we do not want to accept limitations and welcome people from anywhere to join with us. 

As well as this website we publish a regular newsletter and would be pleased to add you to our mailing list.

Short video of the PCIT opening

Below.  Speakers included Professor David Wilkinson(left), Mark Mardell and Rosie Duffield(centre). 

Speakers included Professor David Wilkinson(left), Mark Mardell and Rosie Duffield(centre).

To follow the launch of the new Centre and our successful, inaugural fundraising walk in October 2022, we held a further fundraising walk on Sunday 16th April. Scroll down for photos.

Starting off

Lunch at the Zetland Arms, Kingsdown.

Approaching Dover and finish line.


 April 2023

The main news this month is the huge success of the launch of the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy in Canterbury. The expectation that 80 - 100 guests would attend was far exceeded when an estimated 300 people turned out to listen to key speakers Professor David Wilkinson from the University of Kent, Mark Mardell (ex-BBC broadcaster) and Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield

The Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy 

Tuesday 11t April - World Parkinson’s Day was a fantastic day for all of those who attended the launch of the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy (PCIT) in Canterbury. 

Far exceeding expectations, an estimated 300 guests attended the launch. As well as the speakers, attendees were also able to try out some cutting edge technology developed to help people with Parkinson’s, talk to therapists and inspect the facilities that are on offer. 

Those who managed to squeeze into the upstairs suite were also treated to a live link from the Himalayas of young onset Parkie, Krish who is attempting to reach the Everest Base Camp and, in doing so, raising money for the Centre.

Amongst the technology being demonstrated were augmented reality glasses (developed by UK based Strolll) that are designed to help improve walking for people with Parkinson’s and similar disorders. 

These glasses were (briefly) tried by Peter Roger who found them beneficial. Various therapists from the centre were on hand to answer queries about their treatments and students to provide massages to guests. 

Another highlight was the entertainment that was provided by the signing group Canterbury Skylarks whose members are drawn from the Parkinson’s community.

Following the amazingly successful launch of the Centre, it is no surprise that there has been a surge in people wishing to join the Centre so there may be a slight wait to process new members.. Anyone wishing to join the centre or with general enquiries can contact the Centre on 01227 470876 

0r via the website:

Become a Member - Parkinson’s Centre - University of Kent


Fundraising walk

This walk was, again, a great success with a good turnout and fantastic weather enjoyed by everyone participating or who just came to support us. 

The walk started at the Royal Hotel in Deal and followed the coastal path to the Zetland Arms in Kingsdown where participants were able to refresh themselves. 

Food and drink were then enjoyed from the terrace of The Coastguards that had kindly reserved tables for us overlooking the bay. Aerial footage of the walk was filmed by SImon Welsh (Skyfairy) and will be made available on the Centre’s website. 

To date, around £760 has been raised and money continues to roll in. 


Other therapies / research

It seems that stories about various alternative therapies and research results continue to flood in. We have summarised some of those that we found most interesting, below.

 We have just included these for interest and they are not, in any way, recommendations.

Stem cells

An Anglo/Swedish trial is set to infuse the brains of 8 Parkinson’s volunteers with cultivated stem cells. It is hoped that the infusion will restore levels of dopamine production in the patient’s own brains. 

The clinical lead for this trial is Cambridge University neurologist Professor Roger Barker. 

Pioneering stem cell trial hopes to transform the lives of Parkinson's sufferers  | Daily Mail Online


Magic mushrooms

A report from Australia following a study at the Queensland Brain Institute claims that Lion’s mane mushrooms, popularly used in Chinese Medicine, had a significant impact on the growth of brain cells in the laboratory. Interesting, but it does not follow that eating mushrooms on toast will boost your brain.

Mushrooms Magnify Memory by Boosting Nerve Growth - Neuroscience News


Ping pong 

Following our recent report on the popularity of Ping pong amongst Parkies in the US (and, increasingly in the UK), Agence France Press reported that the activity is also popular in Germany where Ping Pong Parkinson’s has 170 clubs with advocates claiming improvements in symptoms. Team Germany members intend to participate in Ping Pong Parkinson’s next World Championships in Austria this September.

Berlin patients use ping-pong to ease Parkinson's pain (





















The Purpose
The new Centre for Integrated Therapy for Parkinson’s is launching on the 11th April (World
Parkinson’s Day) and our Parkinson’s Group of Friends are keen to support this Centre in.any
way we can. Our latest venture is this fundraising walk from Deal to St Margaret’s Bay.


The Walk
The walk that has been arranged is intended to be a fun walk over a scenic coastal route
passing a number of historic sites and a variety of hostelries. There will be opportunities along
the route for anyone who needs to refresh themselves or require a toilet break.
We aim to start the walk at 10:00 a.m. and would like to check participants in at the starting
point which will be in the Car Park next to the Royal Hotel, Deal.
The walk will proceed along the flat (and mainly paved) coastal path from Deal to Walmer and
then Kingsdown with a rest stop, for those in need, planned at the Zetland Arms on the beach at
Kingsdown. This stop will also be the finishing line for anyone who is not able to or does not
wish to attempt the second, more challenging stage.


For those able and willing the walk will then continue along the coastal path. This route involves
ascending some fairly steep steps and then following a rough path that follows the cliffs to St
Margaret’s Bay but does offer some stunning views. The finishing line for those who complete
both stages will be at St. Margaret’s Bay where there are a choice of venues to rest and refresh.


Fund Raising
The University Fundraising team have set up a walk campaign page on JustGiving that
participants can use to collect their online sponsorship.
To access this page you just need to go to

Click on the orange button to the right where it says “start fundraising” and that will take you
through to a page where you can create your own fundraising page that is linked to the event
If you have trouble setting up a page please contact Peter or Francis (as below) or if you cannot
use this method then use an alternative of your choosing.


To Learn more contact

Francis Ball email:

 mobile: 07908 610990

Peter Roger email:

 mobile: 07773 966880



February  2023

The main news this month is that the launch of the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy moves ever closer. Recruitment of key personnel and specialist therapists is ongoing and a Spring launch event has been announced. This is excellent news and provides an even greater incentive for us to make our planned Spring fundraising walk exceed our successful inaugural event that we held last October. In addition to news about the Centre, this month’s newsletter also includes a piece on some recent research and alternative therapies that may be of interest.

The Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy

The latest news on the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy is that a launch event for the Canterbury centre is planned forApril 11th.

That this unique centre is launching mere months after it was little more than a concept is testament to the hard work and dedication of those involved and should provide a huge boost to anyone whose life is touched by Parkinson’s.Although the Parkinson’s centre has not yet been launched there is no reason not to utilise the many, excellent facilities that already exist. Anyone with Parkinson’s can already access the Kent MS Therapy Centre where the Parkinson’s centre will be co-located. They can book-in to receive a range of therapies geared towards neurological conditions. There are already some people with Parkinson’s who are doing just this and enjoying the therapies on offer. Anyone wishing to do so can contact the KMSTC: Contact us- Kent MS Therapy Centre (

A timetable of Parkinson’s specific therapies, to be delivered by therapists with experience ofworking with people with Parkinson’s and tailored towards the condition, is currently beingprepared. 

Recruitment of these therapists and also the Parkinson’s specialist clinician who willproduce an individual care plan for each person and coordinate their care is ongoing.


Fundraising Walk update

Following our highly successful fundraising walk for the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy last October (that raised a total of £2,126).

 it is planned to hold a further walk on the Sunday following  the Centre’s planned launchevent with a provisional route from Deal to St Margaret’s Bay with refreshment stops along the way.The excellent new about the Centre’s launch event on April 11th is very timely and we will, hopefully, raise even more for the Centre.

Other therapies / research

There has been quite a lot of news recently about various alternative therapies and research results since our last newsletter (which is, in itself, good news) so we have decided to summarise some of those we found most interesting, below. We have just included these for interest and they are not, in any way, recommendations.


“ comes as quite a surprise that a shop-bought cough medicine, found in households across Europe, is under the spotlight as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s.”                     Cure Parkinson’s

Following a limited phase 2 trial of Amboxol in 2017/18 and a review of the data by ProfessorAnthony Schapira’s team at University College London, the UK charity Cure Parkinson’s is providing funding (alongside other partners) for a much larger phase 3 trial of Ambroxol as apossible therapy to slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Since many potential therapies never make it to phase 3 trials that are usually expensive to run, Cure Parkinson’s must have seensome promise to help fund this trial.

More good vibrations

“Scientists find mechanical stimulation could be used to prevent falls and strengthen muscles”

A recent study at Aston University has shown that vibrations can benefit muscle control and balance. In this study the subjects stood on platforms,similar to vibrating plates found in gyms, which caused leg muscle contractions. The researchers stimulated their calves and recorded four one-minute trials of undisturbed balance to take a baseline measure and compared the readings to measurements taken after the stimulation. After conducting the experiment, they found that their balance seemed to have improved. Although the research subjects were younger, healthy people the researchers believe that the same approach is applicable to older people and could help reduce falls and resulting injuries.


Ping pong

“Table Tennis England is launching a grant funding initiative to support clubs and community groups to deliver table tennis sessions for people living with Parkinson’s.” Jan 31st 2023.

Playing table tennis as a therapy for Parkinson’s has seen a huge growth in the USA and elsewhere with a reported 200 groups having been set up around the world by the leading organisation. One of our friends in the US provided the following link to a CBS news item, ping pong therapy on one of these groups in New Jersey and the benefits experienced by the participants. Ping pong therapy participants find that it helps improve movement, balance and mood, they are thought to benefit from the rhythmic movement and the hand eye coordination that are inherent to the game as well as the well established benefits of exercise. There are already clubs and groups set up to include Parkinson’s players in parts of the UK and the benefits of table tennis for people with Parkinson’ in England is now also being recognisedby the national organisation Table Tennis England and Parkinson’s UK.

Video gaming

One activity that may be possible for people who would find table tennis too physically challenging, but that will still exercise a certain amount of hand/eye coordination and dexterity, is video/computer gaming.

“ Playing computer-based physical therapy games can help people with Parkinson’s disease improve their gait and balance, according to a new pilot study led by the UCSF School ofNursing and Red Hill Studios, a California gaming software developer.”

That’s a bold claim from University of California at San Francisco and it has to be considered that Red Hill Studios have a commercial interest in this and are promoting a range of specifically designed games. Nevertheless, other studies appear to be broadly supportive of gaming in general and there don’t appear to be any obvious drawbacks to this activity, apart from the cost of the games consoles/software.










November 2022

Parkinson’s Group of Friends - Newsletter (November 2022) The main news this month is that our fundraising walk last month raised an incredible £2,126 for the new Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy. 

As well as the money raised, we were fortunate to enjoy some exceptional autumn weather and the good company of everyone involved. Preparations for the opening of the centre are gathering pace with recruitment underway and opening is now slated for early in the New Year. 

The Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy The latest news on the eagerly awaited Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy is that things continue to move forwards albeit that it may not open as early as originally anticipated with opening now slated for early 2023. 

That the opening of the Centre is drawing closer is evidenced by the ongoing recruitment of staff for the Centre. Recruitment of key personnel is underway, and you can view details for the position of a Parkinson’s Specialist Clinician on the Centre’s website: We are hiring a Parkinson’s Specialist Clinician – Alumni News. Details of the therapies to be offered are also listed on the Centre’s website: About the Parkinson's Centre for Integrated Therapy as well as an outline of further research and educational projects that will also be an integral part of the Centre. It has also been noted that Spencer Goddard, the CEO of the MS centre in Canterbury that will host the Parkinson’s centre, has joined the expert group driving the new Centre forwards. 

So amidst all of the current gloom in the world there is plenty for us to look forward to in the New Year. Fundraising walk Our walk to raise funds for the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy was held on Sunday the 2nd October. Altogether £2,126 was raised in total (through our dedicated Fundraising page and cash donations). 

The following are the words of Dr. Laura Smith from the School of Psychology at the University who drove down from Orpington in the morning and then completed the walk twice, having eschewed the offer of lifts, she walked all the way back to her car at the starting point. “On behalf of the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who supported the sponsored coastal walk on 2 nd October. 

Many people contributed to the event by donating money, taking part in the walk, organising the event, supporting others to take part, and hosting us in their facilities. Everyone’s efforts made this a fabulous day. I was fortunate enough to attend the walk and had a great time meeting different people who took part and learning about how they had been touched by Parkinson’s in different ways. 

Speaking to members of the community like this makes us even more determined to make a difference by supporting people living with Parkinson’s. The fundraising stories I heard that day were truly inspiring! Thankfully, the weather stayed dry and sunny, and our excellent organisers (Peter and Francis) had planned a stunning coastal route which conveniently finished at a pub boasting a beautiful sea view! I am looking forward to the next sponsored walk between Deal and St Margaret's Bay walk already.” Some of the early arrivals assembled at the Captain Digby under grey skies. The backs of some keen walkers promoting the Centre. 

Some of our more youthful (and always cheerful) participants A rest stop in Broadstairs where most opted to rehydrate whilst enjoying watching Peter maintain his calorie intake ahead of a gruelling second leg. 

A special mention for the three girls ( see pic left) who completed the course with a cheerful disposition throughout and also raised hundreds of pounds towards the centre.

 Further fundraising plans As Laura mentioned (above) we are starting to plan for a further fundraising walk to take place in the Spring. Currently, we are looking at a route from Deal to St. Margaret’s Bay and we will be contacting Shepherd Neame to seek their support.

 Peter is planning a wine tasting event for the end of January, something to do with a blind tasting of the Pinot grape. The exact date is TBA but somewhere adjacent to St Vincent’s feast day (the patron saint of wine growers) on the 21st of January is being considered. 

Other activities are also being considered (e.g. A quiz night). Any thoughts / suggestions would be welcome. Apomorphine Apomorphine is one of the treatments available on the NHS for people with Parkinson’s. It is intended to reduce “off times” that are not adequately controlled by dopaminergics.

However, NICE recommends that “Its initiation should be restricted to expert units with facilities for appropriate monitoring.” It seems that, at the moment, East Kent does not have such an “expert unit” and patients would have to travel to London to begin this therapy. Peter has recently received a letter from Professor Samuels (Consultant Neurologist) that suggests that this situation is changing and that Apomorphine may soon be available in East Kent. This is an issue that we will follow closely and hope to bring better news. Greetings cards Finally, with Christmas rapidly approaching, why not support the Parkinson’s Centre by purchasing these, locally themed, Seasonal Greetings cards Fundraising greetings cards that are available from the University (as the website) or through Peter or Francis.

October sponsored walk. Pit stop at the Charles Dickens Pub, Broadstairs.



Francis:                                    mobile (07908 610990)
Peter:                                  mobile ( 07773 966880)

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