It’s World Parkinson’s Day today and what a joy to see Keith Wilson getting the national attention his inspirational story deserves.

Keith and his wife, Jill, who live in Middleton St George, near Darlington, starred on BBC1’s Morning Live earlier today and were described as "an incredible couple" by Gaby Roslin who presented the programme with Gethin Jones.

I started writing about Keith, from Middleton St George, near Darlington, a year ago after he introduced himself at the Darlington Parkrun.

A keen amateur athlete, he explained that he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2020 and, initially, he fell into despair, fearing he faced life as “a couch potato”.

But the 72-year-old grandad underestimated his own resolve. He picked himself up and embarked on an dedicated regime of strenuous exercise – running, cycling, and rock climbing – to generate the chemicals in his brain to help hold back the disease.

He discovered that singing helped him to focus while he was running, so he took it a step further by joining the Darlington Sing community choir.

The former college lecturer and academic has gone on to not only raise awareness of the disease, and inspire others, but raise valuable funds for Parkinson’s UK through his exploits.

His story has been told in a series of instalments in The Northern Echo over the past year and, happily, it was picked up by the BBC, with a special film made for today’s Morning Live.

Keith, alongside Jill, talked movingly about the impact Parkinson’s has had on their lives – and how the disease has been tackled head on with immense courage.

Keith was also shown running around Middleton St George while singing U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For’ – the irony being that he’s found a powerful purpose by refusing to give in and showing others that there is plenty to live for after a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

The Northern Echo:

Keith’s message on the programme? “Don’t give up. Keep going – do more of the things that you love.”

Gaby Roslin responded by saying: “It’s such a beautiful film and what an incredible couple they are. I absolutely adore them.”

It’s been a pleasure to get to know Keith, an honour to write about him, and I’m proud to now call him a friend.

I’ve no doubt that his story will run and run.