Fight to raise awareness of disease goes on

Elizabeth and Ian Birrell pictured last year.
Elizabeth and Ian Birrell pictured last year.

An East Neuk family and friends have pledged to continue campaigning to raise awareness of a rare brain disease.

Seven months after the death of Ian Birrell from progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), his wife Elizabeth is determined to keep his memory and fundraising efforts alive.

I couldn’t believe what Ian was going to have to face

Elizabeth Birrell

Manager of the Craw’s Nest Hotel for 35 years, Ian was a very well known local character and, when he was diagnosed five years ago with PSP, a particularly brutal terminal degenerative illness, few had heard of the condition.

“I couldn’t believe what Ian was going to have to face. It was like he was going to be locked inside his own body and that is what happened over the next five years,” Elizabeth said.

It is the same illness that affected actor Dudley Moore.

Ian donated his brain and spinal cord to The UCL Queen Square Brain Bank, for Neurological Disorders.

Elizabeth has been fundraising since 2010 to try and raise awareness of PSP and so far has raised more than £35,000.

Her next event is the Anstruther Rotary Club’s sixth East Neuk Coastal Walk from Earlsferry to Crail on June 7 – she can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/ianbirrell2015