Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

OAPs' Champ Told He Has MND

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

OAPs' Champ Told He Has MND

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Robson

A well-known Teesside councillor today opens his heart on being diagnosed with incurable Motor Neurone Disease and tells of his determination to help raise cash towards a cure.

When Marske councillor and pensioners' champion Mike Findley, pictured above, noticed a lack of control in his right arm while shaving last summer, and subsequent problems with his left arm, he put it down to a loose disc pressing on a nerve.

The truth, however, was far more devastating.

On June 17 this year, Mike was confirmed as having MND, the muscle-wasting disease which claimed the lives of Teesside football legends Don Revie and Willie Maddren.

And while now an open secret in Marske, his home for 27 years, he has otherwise kept a low profile since diagnosis so he, wife Judith and daughter Rachel, 16, can privately come to terms with his condition.

But today Mike, 60, breaks his public silence and, like Boro giant Maddren before him, vows to do all he can to raise the profile of the disease.

Mike told the Gazette: "I'm not going to hide away or anything. I wouldn't criticise anyone for doing that because we all deal with things differently, but that's not me.

"I'm 60 now - I've had a good life and am still meeting a lot of very nice people.

"I've spent all this time fighting for pensioners - I'd love to be able to live to spend some of my state pension! At the moment MND is incurable but, hopefully, by people supporting it and raising money, it may one day become curable.

"It may or may not be in time for me, but there is no government money put into research, which is why I want to do my bit."

With an accent still more Tooting than Teesside, the devoted Fulham supporter is a former postie who became North-east rep for the Communication Workers Union.

After retiring early in 1999, he became a borough councillor and was, for a time, the council's Older People's Champion, having founded the Cleveland Pensioners Forum in 2000.

While now stepping back from many of his roles, Mike will remain a councillor and retain his close links with Marske and New Marske pensioners. …

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