A leading member of the Oddfellows in Leamington will be remembered with a donation of more than £126,000 for research into Parkinson’s.
Derek Winbush joined the friendly society aged 15 and was district secretary of the Heart of England branch from 1966 until 2001.
His daughter Suzanne Payne said her dad “literally lived and breathed” the Oddfellows and the pinnacle of his society life was being made Grand Master in 1982, as well being for many years on the national board of directors.
Her dad, who lived in Cubbington with his wife Margaret, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007 and died in September 2011, aged 77.
Suzanne, who is assistant secretary of the branch, which has its base off Warwick Street, said: “He would have been absolutely thrilled that this donation has been made in his name.”
She said they first noticed changes in her father some time before the diagnosis.
“He would find it hard to put names to faces, which was so unlike him. He was still able to come here but his speech towards the end became difficult for him.
“My mum drew great strength from the support given by both the Oddfellows and Parkinson’s UK in my dad’s later years. It’s wonderful to give such a gesture in return.”
Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition, for which there is no cure. The main symptoms of the condition are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity.
The donation raised nationally by the Oddfellows will be handed over in three stages in a partnership between the friendly society, Parkinson’s UK and a two-year research project by Oxford University.
Mrs Winbush, aged 79, who is an Oddfellow and Parkinson’s UK member, said: “Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s had a massive impact on Derek’s life. He would be honoured to know that this study will benefit many others with the condition.”
She and daughter Suzanne visited the Oxford research laboratories, along with Parkinson’s UK and Oddfellows representatives, and a cheque for £42,000 was handed over.
George Lickess, Grand Master of the Oddfellows, said: “Derek Winbush made significant contributions to shaping our society and this partnership is a fitting way for us to remember and honour him.
“Parkinson’s affects many of our members, so research to improve quality of life is very worthwhile.”
Dr James Parkinson, who identified and classified Parkinson’s as a condition, was an Oddfellow and surgeon for one of its London lodges.