Award-winning Melton Parkinson’s sufferer proves benefits of staying active

Melton award-winner and Parkinson's sufferer Margaret Cramp with ex Leicester Tigers and England rugby star Louis Deacon and Jo Spokes, sports development manager for Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport. EMN-151030-154436001

Melton award-winner and Parkinson's sufferer Margaret Cramp with ex Leicester Tigers and England rugby star Louis Deacon and Jo Spokes, sports development manager for Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport. EMN-151030-154436001

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A Melton woman who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease has been recognised for her active efforts towards helping fellow sufferers as well as herself.

Margaret Cramp (67) has been on the GP referral programme at Waterfield Leisure Centre for nearly two years. After frequent gym visits she could see how well she was progressing.

Showing how exercise could benefit others in the same position, Margaret helped start a separate gym session for those with the disease.

Her efforts were acknowledged after she won an award at Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport’s ‘Feel Alive from 65’ celebration on Thursday.

Margaret, who won her award in the exercise referral/healthy heart scheme/get healthy get into sport category, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s seven years ago,

She said: “My fingers kept shaking and then my body started to ache. I just felt something was wrong and went to my doctor who referred me to a Parkinson’s Disease specialist.

“I was referred to the gym and when I went I just got addicted, I loved it. I still go three or four times a week. I got to know the instructors and we’ve become good friends.”

She added: “Exercise does work. It has given me more co-ordination and really helped with my balance. Since I’ve been going to the gym I’ve lost two-and-a-half stones. We have one gentleman who was really poorly and couldn’t do anything but now the difference is amazing.”

Realising the benefits of exercise Margaret asked one of the gym instructors, Rachel, if she’d help her set up a separate session for fellow Parkinson’s sufferers and the weekly Tuesday workouts, largely chair-based, have proved to be a big hit.

She said: “We always have a good turnout, the people who come absolutely love it. Two more joined last week - if we get many more we’ll need an extension soon!”

For about the last four years Margaret has also been a member of the Melton support group which offers information, friendship and support to local people with Parkinson’s, their families and carers. As well as raising awareness of the disease, the group also organise regular events and social activities. The group meets on the third Thursday of the month at The Edge in Dalby Road, 2pm to 4pm. All welcome.

Margaret said: “I like doing things to increase awareness of Parkinson’s and just lately people are getting to know more about it. The disease is more progressive as the years go on but there’s lots of help out there. My motto is ‘I’ve got Parkinson’s but I won’t let it beat me.”

Margaret said she was ‘still on cloud nine’ after receiving her framed certificate and trophy from Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport - the county sport partnership for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. These partnerships have been set up by Sport England as the delivery system for the development of sport and physical activity at a county level, actively supporting partners to increase participation in sport and physical activity.

Leicester-Shire and Rutland Sport’s ‘Feel Alive from 65’ awards celebrated the county’s oldest athletes and most active participants. Over 25 physically active participants, aged between 65 and 88 from across Leicestershire and Rutland, were nominated in a range of award categories.

Among the invited guests at the prestigious event, held in Loughborough, were ex Leicester Tigers and England rugby player Louis Deacon.

Margaret, who was nominated for her award by the Waterfield, said: “It was such a surprise, I couldn’t believe it. I thought there were better people nominated than me so I was amazed and really proud to win it.”

To find out more about the Melton Parkinson’s support group you can call Christine Radford on (01664) 851235.

You can also call the Parkinson’s UK helpline on 0808 800 0303.