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Saturday, 24 September 2022

Hamilton Spectator
Parkinson's Disease Fundraiser

The Southern Grampians Parkinson’s Peer Support Group is to be the beneficiary of funds raised at an event hosted by the Hamilton Hamper on Wednesday evening, which featured guest speakers that included Dr David Rendell, who spoke on his personal experiences with the disease.

Dr Rendell was initially diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2007, and with his medical background, albeit in veterinary science, has been ardently researching data and possible causes.

Dr Rendell presented a slide show of information he had found but said very large studies were needed to prove any heritable link between family members, however, he believed that between 60 and 80 per cent of cases of Parkinson's was due to environmental factors.

"It's very hard to get good data," he said.

The Southern Grampians Parkinson's Peer Support Group offers support through monthly meetings that are held at midday on the third Thursday of the month at the Commercial Hotel in Hamilton, and has a membership of around 50 people.

"It's not just for those with Parkinson's but also for their partners and carers," Dr Rendell said.

"There are about 36 people in the Southern Grampians Shire I know of who have the disease — they're predominantly over the age of 70.

"Then there is also around 20 partners and carers who come along."

"Our support group also runs local ParkinSong classes.

"Beth Tonissen does a great job leading that along with WDHS speech pathologists."

ParkinSong classes are held fortnightly on Mondays at the Lutheran Church Hall on Martin Street in Hamilton.

Melbourne jeweller, Adrian Dickens, who has 40 years' experience in contemporary, estate and antique jewellery, also gave a presentation as guest speaker.

Mr Dickens' mobile jewellery business, Circa AD Jewels, regularly brings him to Hamilton to see clients and often to speak without charge, on jewellery collections of the rich and famous, for various charities.

In June, Mr Dickens was a guest speaker at The Hamilton Hamper for afternoon tea to raise funds for the Western District Health Service's MRI for U&I campaign, for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine.

As a self-proclaimed royalist, Mr Dickens shared his intimate knowledge about the British Royal Family's jewels and their history, and on that occasion raised approximately $2500.

On Wednesday evening, Mr Dickens spoke on the topic of Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery.

Mr Dickens is passionate about Ms Taylor's jewellery and said of her; "sometimes jewels are so alive, it's as if they choose a woman."

"Elizabeth Taylor was the perfect woman to wear diamonds and she knew it," he said.

"She had an exquisite eye."

His knowledge of her collection was evident as he spoke of the abundance of items in Ms Taylor's collection.

Mr Dickens easily recounted which one of her seven husbands had presented her with which individual piece, their weight in carats, and value in dollars.

He remarked that Richard Burton, to whom Ms Taylor was twice married, was fond of gifting her with very expensive jewels on special occasions, especially rubies.

Mr Dickens said that once Burton gave her one of the world's most unique pearls, once belonging to Mary Tudor in the 1500s, gifted to her by King Philip of Spain. It then became the property of the Bonaparte's in the 19th century.

"Ms Taylor wore it in the 1969 film 'Anne of a Thousand Days' before it was eventually sold for $11 million," he said.

"In 1968 'Burty' also gave her the purest diamond ever found — for no reason at all.

"A type 2A diamond valued at $8.8 million.

"Eventually her entire collection sold for $156 million which was donated to the AIDS foundation."

Mr Dickens considers Hamilton his second home and thanked Dr Rendell for sharing his personal journey with Parkinson's with the audience.

"I'm pleased that the funds raised will stay in the community and go to the Southern Grampians Parkinson's Peer Support Group," he said.

Mr Dickens also thanked the Hamilton Hamper owner, Brigid Pern, for hosting the event and providing the canapés, and to Colin and Heather Hilsdon for donating and serving wine from their winery, Henty Estate.

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