PEOPLE across the North-East are being invited to take part in a sponsored walk to raise funds for Parkinson's disease.

People can sign up to Walk for Parkinson’s to help fund vital support for people affected by the condition - and this year, people can also take part virtually.

Charity Parkinson’s UK has launched its annual Walk for Parkinson’s series, which was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, there are three ways to take part:

• Join a socially distanced organised walk in your area

• Walk for Parkinson’s 66 mile challenge: complete 66 miles of walking in July

• Walk for Parkinson’s Your Way: walk two or six miles on September 25 and 26

The money raised by Walk for Parkinson’s will transform the way the charity offers information and support to people with Parkinson’s, and the people in their lives.

This year, thanks to the Frank and Evelyn Brake Connect Fund, sponsorship will be matched pound for pound, doubling the impact for people affected by Parkinson’s.

Organised walks include that of Derwent Country Park, Gateshead, on October 2.

The walks will comply with local coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance.

This year, there will also be two virtual walking challenges: Walk for Parkinson’s 66 mile challenge and Walk for Parkinson’s Your Way.

Walk for Parkinson’s Your Way allows participants to choose their own course, when it is done, and who with, over the weekend of 25 and 26 September. Participants can choose from two distances - two or six miles - depending on what suits you best.

Broadcaster and journalist Dave Clark is supporting the Walk for Parkinson’s events. Dave was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 at the age of 44 and, as Parkinson’s UK’s Champion of Walking, he has helped to raise above £350,000 for the charity through walking challenges, including £43,000 last year when he walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall.

He said: “My ten years living with Parkinson’s means walking is becoming increasingly difficult, but I’m determined to stay positive and not let my condition hold me back.

"I’d encourage everyone to support Parkinson’s UK by taking on a walking challenge that works for them - whatever your level or ability, you can get involved!

“By joining thousands of others across the UK taking part in Walk for Parkinson’s, you’ll be helping to fund important support services that so many people affected by Parkinson’s rely on.

"Not only that, it is a great way to connect with friends, family and the Parkinson’s community - something we need this year more than ever.”

Ann Rowe, Head of Regional Fundraising at Parkinson’s UK, said:

“Last year there was so much we couldn’t do, and living in lockdown was difficult and lonely for many of us. For many people with Parkinson’s, their symptoms got worse. This year, we need each other more than ever.

“Taking part in Walk for Parkinson’s in 2021 is a chance to get outside, connect with the Parkinson’s community and make a difference. By walking together, either in person or virtually, we’re not alone.”

Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and currently there is no cure. In the UK, there are around 145,000 people already living with Parkinson’s, including approximately 5,866 in the North-East. There are over 40 symptoms of Parkinson’s from tremor and pain to anxiety, but the condition affects everyone differently.

To take part in Walk for Parkinson’s, visit