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Rishton Parkinson’s Disease sufferer raising awareness of condition
A PARKINSON’S disease sufferer has told how raiders who stormed his home armed with guns and machetes left lasting scars.
Douglas Beveridge and his family have made a new life in Rishton following a fateful night which drove him from his native Zimbabwe several years ago.
But Douglas has been told by specialists the shock of the event is the root cause of his Parkinson’s disease, which affects him today.
Now he is raising awareness about the disease, and encouraging fellow sufferers to get help from the Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Parkinson’s Support Group.
Douglas lost his family’s farm in the African country when government policy turned against white landholders. The trained engineer adapted, and became employed on a farm in central Zimbabwe. However he became a target.
Douglas and his wife, Ercolina, were at home when six assailants stormed his employer’s house in 2004.
The couple were tied up, racially abused, and Douglas had a gun put to the back of his head. When the trigger pulled, it was only due to an empty chamber that he survived.
He said: “They came in wielding a log three inches in diameter, which they had used to smash the glass doors. They beat us up, and we lost consciousness for a time.”
The 60-year-old still has machete scars on the und- ersides of his arms from his attempts to protect Ercolina. Ercolina, who was beaten about the head with a gun, is partially deaf as a result.
Douglas, who has spoken out ahead of Parkinson’s Awareness Week next month, said his family were only able to leave with one box of belongings. He said: “I said they could take anything if they left us alone. If not, they could just kill us now.”
The intruders loaded up their trucks with cash, jewellery and belongings and said they would return. Because Douglas had overstretched his hands when he was tied up, he was able to free himself and his wife.
The family fled the country, reaching the UK through Italy. Douglas said: “Luckily we all got jobs within days. I worked for Precision Engineering, in Read, at first, and later at Landtech. One day I was driving to work and I got dizzy then I lost all memory of where and who I was.
“The specialists and neurologists all say the Parkinson’s was caused by the trauma of the attack.”
The support group next meets on Saturday, May 4 at 11.30am, in Accrington Town Hall.