Forth Valley couple are true diamonds

When Airth couple Jim and Nessie Cowie celebrated their diamond wedding recently, they asked friends and relatives to forget about presents and give money instead to help Parkinson’s patients at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Their gesture resulted in a cheque for £400 being handed over to NHS Forth Valley Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist, Kay Mair, who plans to use the donation to buy digital timers to help people with Parkinson’s receive their medication on time.

The couple, who have two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren, were married in Airth Parish Church in 1959 after meeting at a dance in the local Welfare Hall.  Seventy nine year old Nessie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s around five years ago and husband Jim (82) explained: “Because of Nessie’s condition we thought we could help someone else by asking people to donate money rather than gifts that you don’t really need. Friends and relatives thought this was a great idea.”

Their daughter Jacqueline Lyons, a midwife who recently retired from Forth Valley Royal Hospital after 40 years with the NHS, added: “It’s just typical of them giving to other people, they are always thinking of others. I am pretty proud of them, not just of their latest gesture but they have always been kind to people.”

Parkinson’s medication is tailored individually to each patient and Specialist Nurse Kay Mair says it’s vital it is administered in hospital at the correct times as well as the correct dose. The £400 will buy pill timers, clocks and prompt posters to support staff. She explained: “For the vast majority of people with Parkinson’s medication is the only means of controlling their symptoms. If medication is not given in accordance to this routine it may result in people being unable to swallow or unable to speak, and move, increasing their dependence on staff. Not giving medication on time could also delay discharge from hospital and affect rehabilitation.”

Although the Cowie’s appeal for cash was a great success, their generosity of spirit was also recognised as they still received some gifts, including several bottles of fizz and vouchers for meals. From a small wedding 60 years ago, their 2019 celebration was a meal for fifty at a local hotel.