Brave Parkinson’s sufferer raises £325k and wins PM’s praise

Gavin Hastings  presents charity fundraiser Norman Yarrow with his Points of Light award.   Picture: Ian Rutherford
Gavin Hastings presents charity fundraiser Norman Yarrow with his Points of Light award. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A MAN who walked more than 200 miles in aid of Parkinson’s disease research has been honoured by the Prime Minister after raising £325,000.

Norman Yarrow, who was diagnosed with the degenerative disorder two-and-a-half years ago, was presented with the Point of Light award at the Scotland Office by rugby legend Gavin Hastings.

Norman, 55, from Gullane, lost two-thirds of a lung after a gruelling battle with cancer shortly before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

But despite struggling with mobility on the right side of his body, the father-of-three was still determined to do his part to help fund research, and embarked on a 215-mile route along the Southern Upland Way.

Norman said: “I’m very proud to accept this award from the Prime Minister and I’m accepting on the behalf of so many people who have helped me to raise this amount of money.

“I set the initial target at £100,000, which I thought was quite ambitious, but we exceeded that greatly.”

Norman and his wife, Carol, 51, set off from Portpatrick in April last year on the venture they dubbed Norman’s Conquest.

Along the route, the pair were joined by almost 100 others – on different days – including former Scotland captain Hastings, whose wife, Diana, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003.

Norman walked all the way to Cockburnspath, just south of Dunbar, in 14 days. He said: “We had sunshine to start with, then some rain, some hail, then we had snow, but on the last day we finished in glorious sunshine.

“It was very challenging, and I didn’t know what I was going to be like day in, day out. I did suffer from a few blisters but after a while they cured.

“At the beginning I was limping but by the end I wasn’t and that shows you the importance of physical activity.”

Hastings praised Norman and said that raising so much money was an “extraordinary” achievement.

He said: “I’m delighted to have been given the chance to present this award.

“Norman did such a terrific job in doing the Southern Upland Way – I only did three days of it and I was absolutely exhausted.

“He’s thoroughly deserving of this recognition – what he achieved and the way he brought people together was fantastic.”

He added: “I’ve been supporting Norman and his wife since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s as my wife has the same thing. I’m a carer for my wife and I have been for a long, long time now – she’s had Parkinson’s for 12 years.

“It’s a hellish illness and thing to have, but it’s the way it is and it’s part of our lives so we just have to get on with it.”