Gary Shaughnessy receives CBE

Our Chair of Trustees has been recognised for his contributions to business and charity in the King’s birthday honours list.

Gary Shaughnessy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015 while working for Zurich Insurance. He was appointed CEO of Zurich’s European business, before stepping down in 2019.

The honour has been awarded for his contributions to business and charity, recognising both his career and the roles he has taken on since. Gary joined our board in 2018, becoming chair in October 2019. He also chairs the board of the Z Zurich Foundation, Zurich’s charitable arm. 

With Parkinson’s UK, Gary was instrumental in stewarding the charity through the pandemic to make sure that our work continued and support remained available for those who needed it. Gary has also taken on many physical challenges to raise awareness and funds totalling over £500,000 to date, split between Parkinson’s UK and Z Zurich Foundation.  

Gary Shaughnessy CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said:  

"News of this award was so unexpected but it’s such an honour to receive it. I certainly didn’t set out to receive personal accolades. I wanted to simply focus on what I could do. It was my way of taking control of my Parkinson’s and I hoped that maybe I would help a few others along the way. 

"Awards like this underline and show the value that charities, and charitable people, make to society. It should never be forgotten that we can all make an impact. 

"I get so much out of the roles that I do, and they give me a platform to raise awareness and make a change, but I couldn’t do it alone. I want to take time to recognise the Parkinson’s community. 

"Through meeting so many incredible people and families affected by the condition, I’ve learnt so much more about their reality of life with Parkinson’s. Whether it’s taking part in research, leading a support group, increasing their physical activity or learning how to live with their diagnosis, they inspire me every day. 

"Separately, we’re 145,000 individuals, each with our own journey complete with challenges to overcome and wins to celebrate. Together we can be an unstoppable force."

On the day that his award was announced, Gary was among a team of cyclists setting off from Brighton to Barcelona. They will arrive in time for World Parkinson Congress. 

Caroline Rassell, Chief Executive, added: 

"Gary is a true role model both in the Parkinson’s community and more widely, so it’s wonderful to see his ongoing contributions to society recognised in this way. The dedication and passion he shows for Parkinson’s UK and all areas of our work is incredible. 

"It’s a very deserved award and the whole charity sends our congratulations to Gary. I’m sure the Parkinson’s community at large will be doing the same."

Gary's 2023 challenges

Every year Gary takes on multiple fundraising challenges. From swimming to cycling, read more about what he's doing this year to raise money for Parkinson's UK and Z Zurich Foundation.