Writer, producer, script editor and comedian Paul Mayhew-Archer receives MBE for services to Parkinson’s and cancer, and announces Patronage of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust

12 October

Perhaps best known for his work as co-writer of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, multi-award winner Paul Mayhew-Archer has been bestowed an MBE for “services to people with Parkinson’s and cancer” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this October. Paul was diagnosed with Parkinson’s nine years ago, and has since made an incredible contribution to raising awareness and funds for the condition.  The exciting news of his MBE coincides with The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s announcement of Paul’s patronage of the charity.

As well as the iconic ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, Paul’s writing credits include ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ and the screen version of Roald Dahl’s ‘Esio Trot’ starring Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. He has also worked as a script editor on an array of programmes from ‘Spitting Image’ to ‘Miranda’, and produced the much loved BBC Radio 4 shows ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’ and ‘Old Harry’s Game’. Since his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2011, Paul has turned his talents towards raising awareness of the condition while doing what he does best – making people laugh.

His first documentary, ‘Parkinson’s: The Funny Side’ won him the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Presenter in 2016. It is permanently available on BBC iplayer because people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s find it informative and reassuring. In 2017 Paul started doing stand-up comedy about Parkinson’s, beginning in the Royal Albert Hall and eventually leading to his own one-man show, ‘Incurable Optimist’, which saw a hugely successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe and later a full UK tour which is currently on hold due to COVID-19.

Paul is heavily involved with his local Parkinson’s group in Oxford. He takes part in research carried out by the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre and attends exercise and dance classes for people with the condition. He is also a Patron of Dance for Parkinson’s even though he readily admits he cannot tell his right from his left.

In April 2020, Paul presented The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s hugely successful BBC Radio 4 Appeal, which raised more than £108,000 for the charity, one of the highest amounts raised on record. The Cure Parkinson’s Trust is delighted that Paul has since agreed to become a Patron. Will Cook, CEO of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust said:

“We are delighted and honoured that Paul has agreed to become a Patron. He has inspired us within the charity and the Parkinson’s community: his films and live performances increase understanding of the condition and provide comfort (and of course laughs!) to many. “Parkinson’s: The Funny Side” is insightful and moving, hugely popular viewing for all of our team, and if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to see him perform live, grab it! This MBE is incredibly deserved.”

Paul added:

 “I am honoured to be awarded an MBE and delighted to become a Patron of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. We need a cure. Every single hour, two people in this country are told they have Parkinson’s. That means some of us are being told at three o clock in the morning.”

As Paul’s MBE also recognises, he has dedicated himself to raising funds and awareness for Maggie’s, the cancer support charity. Paul lost his mother to cancer when he was 20 years old.

Even during lockdown, not only did Paul raise spirits by tweeting funny anecdotes each day, but he also raised funds for Parkinson’s research and Maggie’s centres by challenging his seven month old grandson to a hilarious pasta eating challenge. It was a close contest but, sadly, in the time limit of 26 seconds, Paul was beaten by three mouthfuls to two.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For more information or press enquiries: rachel@cureparkinsons.org.uk or 07557954619

The Cure Parkinson’s Trust has one bold aim to cure Parkinson’s. The Cure Parkinson’s Trust funds pioneering research around the world which is dedicated to finding new treatments that can slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s. Further information at www.cureparkinsons.org.uk
The Cure Parkinson’s Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1111816) and Scotland (SCO44368).

Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition characterised by tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement and balance problems, as well as problems with cognition, chronic pain, sleep disturbance, depression and more.  Parkinson’s affects men and women, young and old across all social backgrounds.

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