Beth Roberts, 75 from Looe in Cornwall who has Parkinson's Disease (PD), has published a collection of her poems and prose to raise money for The Cure Parkinson's Trust, an organisation which specialises in supporting research.
The first poem is about the joys of owning a TGA 'Harley Davidson style' Supersport mobility scooter.
Beth moved to Cornwall in 1987 when her husband Gordon took a position at the then new Duchy Agricultural College. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren with another great-grandchild on the way in May. Beth has enjoyed a diverse and interesting life that included being a Nurse, Nanny, Secretary, and later a Volunteer Teacher and Personal Assistant during six years in Botswana, Africa. Beth was unfortunately diagnosed with possible PD in 2001 and in the same year also discovered she had a brain tumour. PD is a progressive neurological condition that affects mobility in varying degrees and can include tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement. Once Beth's tumour was successfully removed the PD was confirmed, however since then she has rebuilt her life with the help of her family, friends and a remarkable mobility scooter that resembles a Harley Davidson motorbike. This striking black and chrome 3-wheel mobility scooter has enabled Beth to enjoy the beautiful rural surroundings in which she lives and has been the inspiration for some of her poetry. The opening poem in her book, "Backyard Memories", is all about her fondness for "Harley" and how it has improved her life on so many levels.
Beth explains: "I was encouraged to start compiling my poems a few years after diagnosis when I met Tom Isaacs who developed PD in his twenties. I read his book - 'Shake Well before Use' and his courage inspired me so much that I wanted all the proceeds from my little book to go to his charity, The Cure Parkinson's Trust. My first five hundred books have raised over 4,000 and I am now considering a further reprint if I can find the funding. If anyone can offer me a donation towards the printing costs, they would be assisting an extremely worthwhile cause! A spin-off from the book has been that I have occasionally been invited to speak at different groups about 'Life with Parkie'. It is generally considered to be an older person's illness yet one-in-twenty people with PD are under 40 years old."
Beth continues: "With regards to my TGA Supersport, when it became necessary for me to have an aid of some sort, Gordon researched online. We needed something that would be extremely stable, deliver a smooth ride and withstand the roughness and muddiness of our country lanes and fields. My 'Harley' meets all these requirements and more. Another bonus is the power of the motor as we have very steep hills to climb and my TGA Supersport manages them with ease. If I had to replace my 'Harley' for any reason, I would certainly go for the same model as it has made such a dramatic difference to my life. We are able to fit it into the back of our Fiat Doblo when we go away on holiday with our caravan. It gives my family and I even more independence and time together. The robust chassis and large wheels enable the scooter to handle most terrain and I've been deemed 'cool and with street cred' by my Grandchildren! It is a fantastic machine!"
Beth feels it is important for the general public to understand PD and how people affected by the condition can be helped. Last Year, Beth and Gordon, together with Philip and Faith Hambly, their very good neighbours, collected over
2,500 for Cancer Research UK by opening up their picturesque lakes and woodland to the general public. This year, on the first Friday and Saturday of June, the Open Days will be in support of Parkinson's UK and Macmillan Nurses.
Thanks to 'Harley', her rugged TGA Supersport mobility scooter, Beth can continue to enjoy composing poetry in her beautiful surroundings for years to come.