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Tuesday, 07 July 2015

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Barrow pensioner refuses to let Parkinson's disease stop his allotment from growing

AN inspiring pensioner who has been growing produce in his allotment for half a century has refused to let Parkinson’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and a torn ankle tendon stop him from getting outdoors.

Derek Westwood, 80, of West Shore Park, Walney, has been growing vegetables in his Roose Farm allotment in Roose Road, Barrow, for the last 50 years.

This is despite having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s for 18 years, COPD for nine years and diabetes for 30 years.

The determined pensioner refuses to let his health problems get in the way of his allotment work and his prized carrots, cauliflowers and leeks.

Mr Westwood, who has been married to his wife Patricia for 52 years, believes the best way to combat illness and old age is to stay active and thinks his green fingers are the perfect remedy.

The father-of-two and grandfather-of-one said: “It takes my mind off it all. It would help some people who are sitting doing nothing to get out into the fresh air.

“With the way my balance is I do most of my gardening on my knees because it cuts the distance to fall.

“I enjoy the outdoors but my biggest thrill is sowing seeds and watching them come through – I class them as births.”

Mr Westwood was born in Barrow and lived briefly in the Midlands just after the Second World War. He set up his allotment in Roose in 1964, paying just 12 shillings and sixpence to rent the plot - the modern equivalent of which is 62.5 pence.

He grows a range of vegetables including potatoes, lettuces and broad beans, and might just be Barrow’s oldest allotment owner.

l This week marks National Allotment Week, with drives to get more people growing their own produce taking place across the country.

Have your say

Great to see you getting on with things as you always have Derek, many happy memories of working alongside you

Good Luck mate

Posted by robert corran on 11 August 2014 at 07:35

Brilliant, well done Derek, regards to Pat

Posted by Colin & Marina on 10 August 2014 at 17:58

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