Boy, 9, joins battle to conker Parkinson’s

A NINE-year-old boy has raised more than £300 for a charity dear to his heart.

Xan McCollum, of Hawkenbury Way, Lewes, felt compelled to help his grandad, Sussex journalist Adam Trimingham, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

It was during the annual collection of conkers from his randad’s horse chestnut tree that Xan came up with the idea of making conker creatures to raise funds for the charity Parkinson’s UK.

Xan, a pupil at Wallands Primary School, Lewes, said: “Grandad planted a conker in his allotment 25 years ago and he is very proud of the tree it has grown into. I didn’t tell him what I was planning to do with the conkers until I had made all the conker creatures and raised the first £50. He was very pleased.”

Xan’s mum, Marita McCollum, added: “Xan has put a lot of time and effort into his project. He only recently noticed his Grandad’s tremor and was determined to do something to help people affected by Parkinson’s.”

Adam, a highly respected columnist on the Argus for some four decades, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s three and a half years ago and is one of around 300 people in the Brighton area to be affected.

When he noticed a slight tremor in his lower lip he thought little of it. Steadily it became worse and he went to see the doctor feeling fairly sure what the diagnosis would be. After tests the medics confirmed he had Parkinson’s disease which affects about one person in 500, 120,000 in total throughout the UK.

Adam said: “This was a fantastic effort by a young boy who spent many hours with his mother labouring over the conker creatures. The money they raise will help alleviate problems for people who have Parkinson’s and will also go towards research into finding a cure for this unpleasant disease.”

Among those who supported Xan in his fundraising endeavour were St Anne’s Church and Wallands, Lewes; Sussex Voiceworks Choir and Dolphns Pre-School, Hove.

Supporters were invited to give a conker creature a home and donate 50p to Parkinson’s UK. The creatures have proved exceedingly popular with all ages and now adorn homes across Sussex, providing a reminder of the charity’s work.

Paul Jackson-Clark, Director of Fundraising at Parkinsons UK, said: “Our work is totally dependent on donations, and it is the generosity of fundraisers that means we can continue our work to find a cure and improve the quality of life for people affected by Parkinson’s.”