Parkinson’s suffering pensioner sets up karaoke room to help his condition

Dennis Winn
Dennis Winn

A KARAOKE-LOVING pensioner found his singing voice after he developed Parkinson’s disease and now loves belting out Dean Martin tunes to help his condition.

Dennis Winn, 68, was diagnosed with the degenerative condition 15 years ago and has installed a soundproof karaoke studio in his home after discovering that belting out a tune helps him with his speech.

Mr Winn, who is a member of the Hartlepool & District branch of Parkinson’s UK, says having a good sense of humour and positive outlook has helped him fight back against the degenerative condition.

He has devised a series of ways to help overcome the symptoms, which include speech problems and “freezing” – which can leave him stranded in public places.

Mr Winn, from Blackhall Colliery, only discovered his love of singing after he was diagnosed.

“We were on holiday in Fuerteventura and the DJ said ‘give us a song on the karaoke’ and I was coerced into getting up.

“But I loved it and I kept singing, and sang for a fortnight on holiday. I discovered then that the more I sang, the better my speaking voice became. My voice used to tail off but it is much better through the singing.

“I have kept on singing since then and it really benefits me.”

Mr Winn also found novel ways of carrying on playing golf and last year even achieved a hole in one at Castle Eden Golf Club.

His friend Brian Davies, who also has Parkinson’s, said: “He is really quite a good singer. He sings Dean Martin songs. Before he had Parkinson’s he couldn’t sing a note but he has discovered his voice and it has really helped him.

“Dennis is living proof that you can fight back against it.”

Mr Winn added: “I have Parkinson’s but Parkinson’s doesn’t have me. I don’t do anything heroic. I simply believe in taking things back that Parkinson’s took from me.”