In memory of Mary Parkinson

Professor Sir John Strang, Academic Director of the Addictions CAG, writes about Mary Parkinson who was a strong supporter of our addiction services.

It is with great sadness that I write about the untimely death of Mary Parkinson, who died in December at the age of 57. Mary was the daughter of Ann and Cecil Parkinson, and was a strong supporter of the work of the National Addiction Centre (NAC) as well as supporting Action on Addiction and being active with a variety of services to support those recovering from addiction.

Indeed, I had been in recent early discussions with Mary about her possible involvement in a planned new initiative to ensure full treatment of hepatitis C for all in the catchment area which our clinical teams serve.

Mary herself had struggled with severe addiction problems in her early adult life and was a constant champion of diverse pathways to recovery. Her achievements and sobriety were a source of encouragement to others, whose own recovery she supported.

Mary’s parents, Ann and Cecil Parkinson, have been long-standing supporters of addiction charities. Mary’s mother, The Lady Parkinson, worked closely with the founder of the NAC, Professor Griffith Edwards, as the driving force behind creation of the charity Action on Addiction (AonA) and the establishment of the National Addiction Centre.

I was myself fortunate to be have become Deputy Director of the NAC and hence to work closely with Ann and Griffith from these early days onwards. Indeed it was funding from AonA that underpinned the building costs of the Addiction Sciences Building in 1991, and the establishment of the endowed Chair in Addictions (to which I was appointed in 1994).

Mary struggled also with recurrent depression, and suffered particularly after the death of her father in 2016. Sadly her depression deepened, and she was found dead at her home in December. I feel privileged to have known Mary, and she will be remembered fondly, will be respected for her determination to wrestle with demons and will be a source of inspiration to many for her warmth and generosity to others. 

Mary Parkinson 2

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