AN ALLOA resident is making a big song and dance for a Forth Valley service that helps ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Billy McEwan, 57, was diagnosed with the condition two years ago when he noticed his movement had slowed and a slight tremor had developed in his left arm.

“I didn’t know much about Parkinson’s at the time,” Billy said. “It was only afterwards, when my wife started researching, that we managed to find out more about the condition and the best places to access help and support.

“We found out about the local support group, which meets in Alva, and since then we’ve got involved in several activities, including Stirling and Clackmannanshire Parkinson’s Singing Group and Dance for Parkinson’s classes.

“It’s a chance to interact with other people with Parkinson’s and their carers.

“It’s also good to have regular exercise, which helps with my movement, balance and flexibility, while singing keeps my voice strong.

“I work full time and so it’s great to have the opportunity to take part in activities that slow down the onset of symptoms and help me to keep going.”

Alva Academy were recently shortlisted for the Community Engagement Initiative of the Year award at the Times Educational Supplement (TES) School Awards for their work with the Parkinson’s singing group.

Pupils participate alongside people with Parkinson’s and this intergenerational aspect adds to the appeal for many patients who attend.

SUPPORT: Billy McEwan has lauded the range of support services across Forth Valley for Parkinsons patients. Pictures provided by Parkinsons UK.

SUPPORT: Billy McEwan has lauded the range of support services across Forth Valley for Parkinson's patients. Pictures provided by Parkinson's UK.

“It’s all really good fun,” Billy added. “There’s a lot of banter and jokes going back and forth.”

Parkinson’s UK has announced they will be holding an open event on Thursday, May 25 to highlight the services for those with young-onset Parkinson’s.

This will be held at the Hotel Colessio in Stirling and starts at 7pm.

Chloe MacMillan, area development manager for Parkinson’s UK, added: “We hope as many people as possible with Parkinson’s, who are still of working age, will come along to find out about the range of support available to them.

“We also want to sound out demand for future activities that can be delivered.

“We have speakers on board, including one of our local Parkinson’s nurses and our own local adviser from Parkinson’s UK.

“But really, this is about creating an opportunity to get together with people who are going through the same situation.

“It can sometimes be difficult to meet other people with Parkinson’s and living with the condition can be isolating.

“Getting together can have a really positive impact and we therefore hope to see as many as possible come along next week in Stirling.”