Parkinson's UK Oxford Branch Parkinson's UK, our parent charity

July 2019

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Pub Quizzes - Cheating for Parkinson's

 David Salisbury

Since 2015 David has been running special Parkinson’s sections in pub quizzes. By encouraging participants to cheat, he has raised awareness of Parkinson’s as well as raising money for our Branch.

CHEATING?!! Surely that’s not allowed?! But I had the idea that allowing people to cheat when they were answering the questions about Parkinson’s would engage them in finding out more about the disease, and encourage them to think about its impact on people’s lives.

I approached my local, The Butchers Arms which runs a very popular quiz night on a Sunday. The landlords were aware of Parkinson’s, and were willing to incorporate the Parkinson’s questions during their quiz night and also very kindly agreed to have a collection pot on the bar, another way to raise money. Every pub I’ve approached since has also been willing to help incorporate my quiz questions into their quiz night.

Often I try to fit the quiz in with Parkinson’s awareness week or related events, BBC programmes, etc. If there isn’t a current event I just refer to an old event and blame it on my Parkinson’s.

The Parkinson’s quiz doesn’t generate any extra work for the landlord, as I provide the questions and answers. It also gives the pub and landlord an opportunity to support charities within the local community.

One of the reasons I thought of doing a pub quiz is to reach out to members of the public who are not aware of Parkinson’s. It gives them an opportunity to donate and understand about the illness as most pub goers are surprised to learn how debilitating the illness is and how it attacks all ages, not just the elderly. Of course donations are welcome! There is also an opportunity to place a collection bottle on the bar.

Typically I have found that 10 questions is enough for the players to gain insight into Parkinson’s. Players can and must “cheat” to answer the Parkinson’s questions. Cheating will usually take the form of the use of a smart phone but they can phone a friend or even ask someone else. Asking players to research the answers is an effective way of increasing their awareness of Parkinson’s. Players find it’s a fun idea to raise awareness and encourages participation and team work.

To conclude I prepare a short talk about life with Parkinson’s followed by Q&A. This is optional – but I feel it is about letting people into your life and increasing their knowledge of Parkinson’s. After each quiz I’ve held someone has approached me to thank me for sharing my life since Parkinson’s.

In 2015 after my first quiz the local paper carried an article about Parkinson’s and the quiz, headlined Cheats welcome at pub quiz for charity with the picture of me that you can see above. Something perhaps to repeat! If you would like to run a quiz yourself I am here to help.

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