October 3, 2016
Bitton House echoed to gales of laughter from a packed venue when award-winning BBC comedy script writer Paul Mayhew-Archer gave a fund-raising presentation on behalf of The Helen Foundation on 23rd September. Spiced with video clips from The Vicar of Dibley and Mrs Brown’s Boys – shows Paul has worked on – Paul delighted his audience with stories from his life in comedy-writing and script-editing at the BBC. Four years ago, Paul was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and recently made a documentary about the condition for the BBC. This much-acclaimed film has been short-listed for Britain’s most prestigious documentary awards – The Grierson Awards 2016 – in the category Documentary Presenter of the Year.
The awards recognise and celebrate documentaries from Britain and abroad that have made a significant contribution to the genre and that demonstrate quality, integrity, creativity, originality and overall excellence. Blending hilarious personal anecdotes with keen insights into living with Parkinson’s, Paul was very warmly received by the audience, drawn from across Devon, who left buzzing with the inspirational and uplifting effect of the evening.
THF Chairman Roger Kirk says: “I have known Paul for nearly forty years since we first met as fellow English teachers in the 1970s. Since Paul left teaching for work in the BBC, we have remained firm friends. Paul knew our daughter Helen and we were delighted when he offered to present the evening on behalf of THF. We decided to donate the separate raffle to Parkinson’s UK and Paul personally doubled the amount raised so that both THF and Parkinson’s UK would benefit equally. Overall, the evening raised nearly £650 for THF. The event sold out three weeks in advance and we are sure those in the audience and those unable to attend would be delighted if Paul were able to return to Teignmouth at some point in the future. We all wish him success in the approaching Grierson Awards. We thank mayor Terry Falcao, who attended the event with his partner, Judy Saunders, for allowing us to use Bitton House, an excellent venue for the event.”