An inspirational Leeds man who has tried to bring smiles to others during his battle with Parkinson’s disease has been praised for raising £15,000 for charity.
Mark Wilson, 47, from Beeston, had to quit his job as a private hire driver in 2009 after doctors confirmed his headaches and poor reactions were signs he had developed degenerative disease Parkinson’s.
But after seeing Sarah Millican perform in 2013, he found comedy helped him to forget about his symptoms, prompting him to set up his own events in aid of Parkinson’s UK.
The grandfather-of-one staged his fourth and final Leeds Laughter Extravaganza at the Leeds Marriott Hotel on Sunday despite his condition affecting his mobility.
Robert Ingham, a friend who often goes to comedy gigs with Mark, said: “To me he’s an inspirational guy. He had three standing ovations on Sunday night – people couldn’t stop clapping him.”
Mark may be stepping away from fundraising but Parkinson’s will not stop him enjoying his beloved comedy nights.
He has made new friends on the circuit, with many acts giving their time for free in support of him, so he is still keen to attend gigs.
Parkinson’s UK has praised Mark’s efforts, the proceeds of which will help to fund support and research into better treatments for the disease.
Chrissie Fielden, regional fundraiser for Parkinson’s UK in Yorkshire, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Mark for all of his hard work in aid of Parkinson’s UK.
“His comedy nights always proved popular and to raise such a fantastic amount is a great achievement.
“The money he has raised will go a long way to helping people affected by Parkinson’s, including their families and carers.”