South Parade Pier music festival this weekend will see Eastenders star as special guest '“ and auction off Albert Square memorabilia

A music festival in Southsea tomorrow in aid of Parkinson's Disease will have an Eastenders star as its guest.

Saturday, 13th October 2018, 4:22 pm
Updated Saturday, 13th October 2018, 5:34 pm
Emma Barton

The Unity Charity Music Festival has been put on at the pier by Julie Gifford, whose husband Pete has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and Portsmouth-born actor Emma Barton, who plays Honey Mitchell in EastEnders, will be there to host it. The event runs from 1.30pm to 11pm in the Gaiety Bar. The actor heard about Copnor resident Pete's situation and pledged her support, and will be auctioning various items including a Walford Street sign, autographed by all the Eastenders cast. All money raised will go towards research into Parkinson's disease and to support the Portsmouth branch of the charity.   Emma will be available to chat to fans during the music fest which includes, raffle, cake stand and a variety of other events. Music will be provided by FleetingWood Mac, Jack Rabbitt, Just After Eight, Little Missy and  Ricki Scott plus  a host of other bands and artists.  The charity Music Festival, has been organised by Pete Gifford's wife Julie who said: '˜Pete started to suffer symptoms when he was just 55. It was many years before Pete got the correct diagnosis. '˜Pete had just retired and we had planned a busy and active future. Our whole life changed overnight with Pete's diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.'  Julie cares for Pete full time as his symptoms now mean he has severe mobility issues and many other challenges linked directly to the disease. Julie added: '˜I have seen first-hand the pressures Parkinson's puts on a patient and their family. Pete and I are determined to make this a super night out with the added bonus of making a lot of money for a charity close to our hearts, '˜I want to see a cure for Parkinson's in my children and grand-children's lifetime. So we want as many people as possible to attend.' Parkinson's Disease is a progressive neurological condition, with no cure. It causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time. The main symptoms are tremors, freezing and being unable to move or walk, anxiety and in the latter stages dementia and hallucinations can develop. People with Parkinson's don't have enough of the chemical dopamine because some of the nerve cells that make it have died. Shelley and Tim Scott from Portsmouth also helped to put the event together. Tim, 59 has been suffering from Parkinson's disease for several years and said: '˜It's important to highlight that this is a disease that can strike any family and any time, it not only affects people over 50 but there is also juvenile Parkinson's which affects children and teenagers as well.' Parkinson's disease has also affected many high-profile people in the media. Michael J Fox, Billy Connolly, Alan Alda, Neil Diamond are four people from the world of TV and film that are also battling the effects of Parkinson's. Tickets are £10. For more details log on to  www, justgiving.com/fundraisingforparkinsons. The Parkinson's Helpline is on 0808 800 0303

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Julie and Pete Gifford