Cure Parkinson’s is delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Fundraiser of the Year Award as the inspiring team of Peter Burns and Vicky Knight. The duo organised and took part in an incredible swimming challenge across the Solent in September 2021, raising over £40,000 for the Cure Parkinson’s.

This award recognises a person or team who has ‘gone above and beyond’ to raise funds for Parkinson’s, and on Sunday 5 September, Peter and Vicky did just that. Leading a team of 12 swimmers (pictured above), including three living with Parkinson’s, they swam across the Solent from Gosport to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Not only did the group have to face the elements and swim 5,000m across open water, they also had to navigate one of the nation’s busiest shipping lanes! The team were accompanied by safety support kayaks, and all 12 swimmers completed the entire crossing.

The Positively Parkinson’s Solent Swim Challenge was two years in the making, and was co-founded by Peter who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2017 and Vicky, a specialist in neurological rehabilitation. It came as part of a wider Positively Parkinson’s initiative which aims to help people with the condition adjust to life after their diagnosis, enabling a positive mindset and access to the support of a caring community.

Peter and Vicky encouraged others to get involved and take on a similar challenge in their local swimming pools, where the 5,000m could be completed over four months. They were humbled by how many people got involved, including Peter’s own club, Littlehampton
Swimming Club, who did a two-hour continuous relay swim and raised over £700.

All the swimmers bonded into a great team and the sheer emotion of arriving on the beach was quite remarkable. The amount we’ve raised has gone beyond our wildest expectations. We’ve been astounded by people’s generosity, kindness and empathy, and many people have shared their own personal story of their connection to Parkinson’s when they have donated.

Peter Burns

“After a lot of organising and delays it was incredible to see a vision become a reality. As a neurophysiotherapist with a specific interest in Parkinson’s I wanted those with Parkinson’s to have the opportunity to show others what can be achieved when living with this condition. The three swimmers with Parkinson’s showed just that and I was so proud of them. As well as raising an amazing amount of money we also created a team and community which we hope will continue to grow.

Vicky Knight

Feeling inspired?

Why not take on your own challenge in support of Cure Parkinson’s this year?

Take a look at our challenge events page for ideas!

How helpful was this content?

/ 5. Vote count:

We are sorry that this content was not useful for you

Let us improve this content

Can you tell us how we can improve this content?