24th Oct, 2016

Illness inspires Pershore couple

Evesham Editorial 1st May, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A GARDENING loving couple from Pershore have been inspired to make a show garden to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease after watching one of their loved ones suffer from it.

Rupert Keys and his wife Ruth Gwynn have designed the ‘Living with Parkinson’s’ show garden which will be on display to thousands of visitors at next week’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

The idea has been inspired by the couple after seeing Rupert’s dad Tony’s life change significantly because of the condition.

Having Parkinson’s has affected Tony, who will be 76-years-old later this year, in every aspect of his daily life.

Tremor, a common feature of Parkinson’s, affects his ability to walk, dress, wash and eat. And a serious fall last year further complicated his ability to enjoy being outdoors.

Rupert and Ruth, who run Keyscape Designs and Construction in Pershore, decided to use this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival to spread a message and have designed the garden in a specific way to reflect the actions and emotions victims of the disease go through.

The four-day festival held at the Three Counties Showground, which begins on Thursday (May 8), traditionally is one of the first big events of the gardening season and has become renowned for showcasing trends in garden design and planting.

“The idea behind the Parkinson’s garden is to illustrate the many obstacles people with Parkinson’s have to face just to get around.” Rupert said.

“Parkinson’s is something which is very close to us and we wanted to do another garden at Malvern and then we thought lets do something for someone else and raise awareness. And because my Dad has Parkinson’s it just seemed really appropriate.

“Parkinson’s has affected Dad badly. He has to be very aware of every step he takes and where he walks and has to decide how to assess terrain before him and how he will deal with it, particularly steps, kerbs and any uneven ground.

“The Spring Festival is always a great show and the people who come are so enthusiastic and interested about gardening which is great.

“I hope that visitors to the Festival will take the time to visit and explore our garden, putting themselves in the shoes of the 127,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK.” For more information about the Malvern Spring Festival visit