Former Burnley headteacher praises Pendleside Hospice for Parkinson's support

Colin Wills
Colin Wills

Former Burnley headteacher Colin Wills has dedicated years to helping people live in peace and harmony – but is now thanking others for helping him through his own crisis.

Colin (77), who received an MBE three years ago for his work in the community, has praised Pendleside Hospice for how it has been supporting him and his family while he is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

He spent 21 years as head at Stoneyholme Primary School, Burnley, and was chairman of Building Bridges In Burnley following the disturbances in the town in 2001. Colin has also been a United Reformed Church elder for more than 50 years.

But for the last 10 years the former teacher at Barden Junior School and deputy head at Coal Clough Junior School has been increasingly affected by Parkinson’s Disease.

Colin, of Minehead Avenue, Lane Head, Burnley, said: “By late last year I was unable to go out on my own. Someone had to be with me and obviously I had lost the capability to drive my car.

“It was a depressing time but I was directed to the services at Pendleside Hospice. Until then I hadn’t realised what went on there.

“But now I can only say everyone at Pendleside has been superb.

"Not only have they helped me immensely but also they have provided unbelievable respite for my wife Freda who has received complementary therapies as a carer.”

Colin, who received his MBE from Prince William at the same time as Rod Stewart was knighted, was initially offered a 12-week one-day-a-week course at the hospice which helped him to become more mobile with the help of physio.

“But it wasn’t just about the treatment which was fantastic it was also about socialising with people from all walks of life,” said Colin.

“The care that you receive is tremendous and it really helped me get back on my feet.”

Unfortunately, for Colin, he later suffered a relapse and was admitted to hospital.

He said: “I am back out again now and I have started attending the hospice for another 12 weeks so they can build me up again.”

Rehabilation assistant Amy Longworth said: “Colin has been absolutely remarkable. His biggest achievement was when he cycled three kilometres on the cycle machine in the gym.

“Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, he had to go into hospital. But now he is back home he is again building up the strength in his legs on his weekly visits to Pendleside.”