It was just chance. And the only reason I agreed was because Anne Smedley from Welshpool is such a very nice woman. I'd had no real connection with Parkinson's Disease - except that I remain a great fan of Mohammed Ali, as I've been since he won the Olympic cruiser weight gold as the garrulous Cassius Clay, when I was training to be a boxer myself. He's an example to us all of how cruel Parkinson's can be - and how brave some people are after falling prey to its cruelty. So when Anne asked me to be President of the Montgomeryshire Branch of the Parkinson's Disease Society, I agreed. Attend the odd coffee morning was about all that I was expecting.
Anyway, Anne telephoned me a few weeks ago. She'd received an odd phone call from a complete stranger who wanted to make a small donation to her local branch. Did I just write 'small'. Well, when Anne, having expressed her gratitude asked "How much", she thought her hearing was playing tricks when she heard this complete stranger say £10,000. Its fortunate that her telephone is not made of bone china!! I can only guess how the conversation went after that because Anne's current annual budget would be no more than the proceeds of a couple of coffee mornings and a raffle. It finished up that a cheque for £10,000 winged its way to Parkinson's Disease Wales on condition that £1,000 of it is spent in Montgomeryshire.
It seems that this blog is responsible. It turns out that this complete stranger is a reader of my blog, and when he read about my appointment as Anne Smedley's new President, decided to acknowledge the occasion with a 'small' donation. Trouble is that I now feel responsible. I want the money to be spent wisely. So this week I've been to Cardiff to meet Simon Hatch, Director of Parkinson's Disease Wales, and yesterday I met with the 'fairy godmother' himself for a most agreeable lunch in London. The 'no-longer-a-stranger, lives in the South East of England. And now I'm hungry to learn more about the disease, and how to promote awareness of symptoms, which are so varied and incremental that they so often go unnoticed. Don't think I've ever made a speech that had as much impact as that little blog post which informed my readers that I had said 'Yes' to Anne Smedley.