A support group which has been helping people for more than three decades will close unless someone comes forward to lead it.

An appeal is now being made to help save the Bridport and District support group of Parkinson’s UK and keep it going for future generations. It is now in its 32nd year.

Linda Gould has been leading the group for 12 years as co-ordinator, but is leaving the area to move closer to her family, and while there is an assistant co-ordinator and treasurer, someone is needed to take on the top role.

The thriving group provides a monthly meeting for people with Parkinson’s and their carers, and is affiliated to Parkinson’s UK. Members also enjoy meals out, coffee mornings, games of skittles and discussion groups.

Meetings include different activities, and have recently included a performance by Tinkers Cuss and Tai Chi.

Mrs Gould said she has seen many friendships blossom among members in the years she has been leading the group.

She said: “People with this degenerative condition find it very helpful meeting together where they can relax and be themselves without being judged. And the carers are equally important – they support each other and they understand each others’ situations.

“The group is well off for other volunteers and members who contribute to the running of the group. For this reason a new leader need not have prior knowledge about Parkinson's but must enjoy communicating and taking responsibility. We are a light hearted group and like to enjoy ourselves. Basic IT Skills are essential along with good team work.”

Mrs Gould said the role will mean about six to eight hours’ of volunteering a week, although it could be more one week and less another, according to what is needed.

She added: “I have been the lead myself for 12 years and feel very sad that the group is now in the sad situation it finds itself in.”

Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder thought to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors that cause dopamine-producing nerve cells to die off. There is a wide variety of symptoms, but commonly include tremors, rigidity, feeling tired, pain and sleep problems.

The Bridport and district group meets monthly at St Swithun’s Church Hall at 2.15pm. For more information or to volunteer, contact Mrs Gould by emailing lindagould50@gmail.com or by calling 01297 489202.