Lecture series raises £1150 for Parkinson’s UK

A short season of public lectures at Ben Rhydding Methodist Church has raised £1150 for Parkinson’s UK, the church’s charity for 2023/2024. Approximately 140,000 people in the UK, almost one in 500, live with Parkinson’s (often called Parkinson’s disease or PD), a progressive debilitating neurological condition, the precise cause of which is unknown. At present there is no cure. Parkinson’s UK provides support and advice for those with PD and for their families and carers. It funds also basic and developmental research and is committed to finding new treatments and ultimately a cure.

The series was the idea of Dr Peter Smith, a member at Ben Rhydding, and it got off to a flying start with The Search for Life on Other Worlds in which Dr Alexis Smith explained how he and his research group from the Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Centre in Berlin, search for and characterise exoplanets (planets which orbit distant stars). Alexis, who is a member of the science team for the European Space Telescope CHEOPS (CHaracterising ExOplanets Satellite) project, discussed the possibilities of finding life elsewhere in an attempt to answer one of humanity’s oldest questions: Are we alone in the Universe? An enthusiastic audience contributed over £600 to a retiring collection.

Equally fascinating was the story of the city of Liverpool unfolded by Peter Colyer (historian and Blue Badge Guide for Liverpool and Chester) in a talk entitled Liverpool: a lot more than football and the Beatles. Peter, who is also a local preacher in the Wirral Circuit, was born in Doncaster but has lived on Merseyside since reading history at the university of Liverpool in the 1960s. In a fast-paced and amusing talk, he conveyed his enthusiasm and deep love of the city, despite having no interest in football whatsoever!

Palliative Care – Living not Dying was the title of the concluding talk of the series given by Dr David Oliver (Honorary Professor, University of Kent Medical School and former clinical director of the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester). David chairs a European Academy of Neurology task force on neurological palliative care a subject on which he has lectured and published widely, particularly on the care of those with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

In addition to the three speakers, thanks are due to Andie Harper who chaired each meeting, and to Peter Bastow who organised the AV facilities.

Written by Peter Smith


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