Awarded an MBE for service to people with Parkinson's and cancer, Paul says the response to his honour has been 'amazing'.
Earlier this month, Paul Mayhew-Archer was named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Since then, he’s been overwhelmed with messages from friends, colleagues and the Parkinson's community.
Reflecting on the response, Paul said:
"Since the announcement of the MBE I have had the most amazing response - so many wonderfully kind messages of goodwill and congratulations. A couple of people even congratulated me on getting a knighthood which was a bit of a surprise. I have found the experience deeply moving and one of the highlights of my life.
"Normally I believe recipients are informed a few weeks before the announcement and told not to tell anyone. This year, because the announcement was delayed from June to October, I had to keep the news to myself for 4 months! Also, because of the long delay, the person who recommended me was contacted a fortnight ago to see if they still wanted my name to go forward. Presumably if they'd said, 'NO. I’ve gone off him' I’d have been told, after 4 months of getting excited, 'Sorry matey, you’re not getting an MBE after all'."
Recognising his work
Steve Ford, our Chief Executive, is among many who shared celebratory messages with Paul:
"Since his Parkinson's diagnosis in 2011, Paul has been an incredible advocate for the Parkinson’s community. He is a role model for so many people with the condition, trusted to speak honestly about what living with Parkinson's means for him and admired for his dedication to remain positive in the face of adversity.
"His support for the charity continues to be invaluable. Whether he is performing at comedy events, fundraising for vital research, or supporting people in various roles at his local Parkinson's UK support group in Oxford, his passion to inform people about what it's like living with a complex, progressive condition is inspirational.
"We are thrilled that Paul's tireless efforts have been recognised in this way, and send him many congratulations and thanks for everything he continues to do for the 145,000 people living with Parkinson's in the UK."
Still more to do
Just like after his diagnosis, Paul isn't planning on slowing down since he's been honoured.
"The condition is progressive so I am getting slower and wobblier. Recently it took me 10 minutes to get my jumper on. I'd finally managed to pull it down and tug it into place when my wife came into the bedroom. 'Not that jumper,' she said and whipped it off before I could say a word. Nevertheless I am determined to go on performing for as long as I can. The MBE has inspired me to carry on trying to raise funds, awareness and, above all, spirits.
"I'd planned to do a number of charity performances this year in venues from Cumbria to the Channel Islands, but now hope to do them in 2021. Performing and hearing people laugh has the same effect on me as my medication."
Pushing towards the next treatment
Paul is continuing with his hard work. And so are we. We're investing in trials to find new treatments all the time. Right now, we’re exploring whether a drug called ondansetron could could be the solution to hallucinations in Parkinson's.