A FORMER soldier diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is hosting a 12-hour pool marathon tomorrow to help fellow sufferers.

Rick Morris, 65, of Southampton, is staging the event in aid of a group that provides support and advice to people affected by Parkinson’s in the Solent area.

Earlier this year Rick was given the devastating news that he was suffering from the degenerative disease.

He said: “As an active person who spent 23 years in the army it came as a big shock, especially when I realised what the condition can do.

“I joined my local group soon after my diagnosis and want to raise funds to help them continue their work.”

The pool marathon, which is open to everyone, is being held at Totton Conservative Club.

Rick said: “This event means a lot to me because it shows that even with this condition people can still enjoy an active life, however restricted. Please feel free to pop in and challenge us to a game.”

Rick has already raised £1,400 through his justgiving page and hopes to boost the tally with on-the-day donations.

The money will help the Parkinson’s UK Solent Early Onset Group provide activities such as Tai Chi and other activities that can help sufferers cope with the condition.

Paul Jackson-Clark, director of fundraising at Parkinson’s UK, said: “We’d like to thank Rick for organising what promises to be a great event.

“Our local groups can be a lifeline for people affected by Parkinson’s, providing not only support but activities to help with daily life.

“These wouldn’t be possible without the determination of fundraisers such as Rick so I hope lots of local people pop in for a game of pool.”

Parkinson’s affects 127,000 people in the UK – about one in 500 of the population. There is no known cure for the condition, which can cause tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity.

Experts say people with Parkinson’s can benefit from local groups that provide support and an opportunity to share their experiences with others in a similar situation.

To help Rick raise money go online and visit justgiving.com/Rick-Morris.