Inspiring Leeds fundraiser who has Parkinson’s raises £10,000 through charity comedy nights

Mark Wilson, who has Parkinson's disease, has now raised more than �10,000 for charity. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Mark Wilson, who has Parkinson's disease, has now raised more than �10,000 for charity. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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The fundraising efforts of a Leeds comedy fan with Parkinson’s disease have reached the five figure milestone.

Mark Wilson, from Beeston, has now staged three stand-up comedy events in aid of Parkinson’s UK and after his most recent event at the Marriott in Leeds city centre his fundraising total surpassed £10,000.

The former private hire taxi driver started setting up the events after finding that watching comedians helped him to forget about his symptoms.

Mark, 47, had to quit work in 2009 when doctors confirmed that his headaches and poor reactions were signs he had developed degenerative disease Parkinson’s at the age of just 40.

He said: “Having a good laugh relaxes your muscles, I find. It just helps me.

“Life has changed for me drastically in the last few years. I’m less mobile now, I don’t hardly go out and just doing this gives me a chance to meet people – nobody sees the Parkinson’s, they see me as Mark which is good.”

The fundraising started after he saw Sarah Millican perform in Leeds in 2013. He continued to go to comedy gigs and befriended comic Jonathan Mayor, whose husband Leon also has Parkinson’s, before setting up his own events.

His most recent comedy night, the Leeds Laughter Spectacular, saw Allyson June Smith, Monty Burns, Alex Boardman and Angela Barnes perform at the Leeds Marriott Hotel on March 13.

More than 200 people attended and around £2,700 was raised but Mark is not done fundraising yet.

He added: “I’m hoping to do more fundraisers – it’s been one every six months so far.

“It keeps me alert and motivated. I could easily have just said ‘I’ve got Parkinson’s for the rest of my life’ and sat back but I like motivation.”

To make a donation to Mark’s Parkinson’s fundraising visit justgiving.com/Markrhinolaughter.

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