Belfast Telegraph

George Best will be there in spirit on charity walk, says sister

Fundraising: Barbara McNarry
Fundraising: Barbara McNarry

By Mark McConville

The sister of the late George Best, who suffers from Parkinson's, has said the footballing great will be "there in spirit" as she takes on a charity walking challenge on the north coast.

Barbara McNarry (66) will be taking part in Parkinson UK's Causeway Coast Challenge on September 7 and has urged others to join her.

Her life was "turned upside down" when she was diagnosed with the chronic debilitating neurological illness in March 2017.

Now she hopes to raise money for the charity, with the memory of George's charity work spurring her on. In a Facebook post, she said: "As most of you know, but for those who don't, in March 2017 I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, a chronic debilitating neurological illness for which there is no cure.

"My brother George did an enormous amount of work for charity, most of which he did without a fuss or fanfare.

"I know without a shadow of a doubt, if he was here, he would be deeply saddened that Mr. P. is in my life.

"I also know that he would wholeheartedly support not just me, but the entire Parkinson's UK family.

"Sadly on the 7th September he can't be by my side, but he will be with me in spirit.

'Mr P' is Mrs McNarry's irreverent 'pet name' for Parkinson's.

She also expressed her determination not to let Parkinson's rule her life.

She added: "Life before Mr. P and life currently is very different and certainly challenging at the moment.

"Despite giving me a rough ride, turning my life upside down and leaving a future full of uncertainty, Mr. P. will not win.

"I'm delighted to be part of Parkinson UK's Causeway Coast Challenge, which is a beautiful walk along the stunning north Antrim coastline.

"So, I'm urging you all to please put on your walking or dancing shoes, put your best foot forward and join us on this epic venture.

"Parkinson's UK does an enormous amount of work not just in terms of funding research, but offers comprehensive support to sufferers and their carers."

Taking the Causeway Coast Challenge fits in with Mrs McNarry's desire to remain independent for as long as possible.

In a previous interview she said: "Call me naive or just plain stupid, but I vowed that, as long as I can possibly help it, there's no way Norman [her husband] was going to be my carer."

The charity event takes place on September 7, with a start time of 7.45am.

There are three options to choose from; a 27.5, 19 or 13-mile scenic coastal hike where "you'll enjoy spectacular views, including the legendary Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Dunluce Castle and the eighth wonder of the world, the Giant's Causeway".

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