Parkinson’s DISEASE and DETECTING

71 year-old Jim Druett who, at the time, was a member of Camberley and Bagshott and also Farnham and District MDC’s, has Parkinson’s disease.

This blog was written in August 2015 and worth a reprise. Jim will be now 77 or thereabouts. I’m pleased the Druett’s have given their approval for me to reprise their story for new detectorists, many of whom won’t have seen the original.

Jim isn’t computer savvy, so wife Sylvia has transcribed his words

Jim Druett

I was a coach driver for 37 years, and the nature of the job is that you take people wherever they are going, to house or garden, or the theatre etcetera. Wherever passengers go it always entails a lot of time for me waiting around for them to return.

Usually I left the vehicle in a designated coach park if I was lucky, but if not, wherever it was safe. Then I would take out my flask and sandwiches, read the paper and then if the day was stretching out to be a long one I would polish one side of the coach or clean all the windows on the inside, or perhaps vacuum the seats.

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and was so grateful that I had a hobby I could still do

One evening on my return, my wife said, “my goodness, why don’t you just relax”. But I never could; I had to keep busy.

A few days after this conversation, she presented me with something to keep me busy … a small Tandy metal detector! I laughed and said she must be joking. Anyway I duly took it with me the next time I knew I was going to be stuck somewhere with nothing to do. In a car park I found numerous £1 coins – that paid for my coffee in the local café. I was hooked!

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and was so grateful that I had a hobby that I could still do. I have progressed through different detectors ranging from Whites to Minelab and have now settled with a Garrett, which seems to be the right weight for me to manage.

When I was 70 my driving licence was revoked and, as you may imagine, I was really heartbroken to lose my independence. Thankfully I have made some very good friends through the clubs and they will always take me to the different digs, and make sure I do not have too far to walk to the field.

I’ve been very lucky with what I’ve unearthed over the years and show some pictures of my recent finds that have gone to Winchester for identification.

SOME OF JIM’S FINDS

IMPRESSIVE – but I can’t give you a positive ID

Rating: 10 out of 3.

I was unable to find any additional information about Jim or Sylvia on the detecting forums so placed a post for help on FaceAche. My plea was answered almost at once by Detecnicks supremo Laura Charman who put me in touch with the delightfully named Susan Merry, secretary of the Farnham club.

Susan knows Jim and Sylvia very well and commented that the original story was ‘inspiring’. She also said . . .

Metal Detecting has so many positives. It’s not just an interesting and sociable hobby, but is also escapism for many detectorists. We now have another member with Parkinson’s . Those with the disease say that going out detecting gives them something to look forward to and forget their debilitating situation. They are happy to be able to still socialise with others and are grateful for the lifts to digs and club meetings – due to losing their driving licence.

Jim Druett is a very respected detectorist with many years under his heavily laden finds bag. He was my mentor when I started detecting some 8 years ago. I met Jim at a fete where he had a stall showing his finds. We became firm friends and detecting buddies since he introduced me to the FDMDC . His wife Sylvia also became a dear friend and was happy for me to take him out on detecting days. 

Due to health issues, Jim and Sylvia have moved up North and have an annex at their daughter’s place. Jim has found a permission so is still getting his coil to the soil.

As a friend and detecting buddy I miss them both and so do the club, but ultimately Jim is still detecting. That’s good. You can have all the money in the world, but no cure for debilitating or terminal illnesses. Carry on doing what you love. 

Susan Merry

Susan has written articles for magazines and donated payment to charity. She also organises charity digs in aid of Parkinson’s.

Susan thought the joke was hilarious. Jim looks on in bewilderment

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS

Farnham & District MDC – The Searcher Magazine – Jim & Sylvia Druett – Laura Charman – Susan Merry – Parkinsons.org Pino Grigio Mrs John

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