TIM Vickers says he tries not to think about the future.

The 65-year-old has from Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive illness he says “doesn’t kill you, but you might get to the stage where you wish it had”.

Mr Vickers, from Bromley Cross, says he has been lucky so far with his illness as his symptoms have not been “too bad” — but he knows he will get progressively worse.

He was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in March 2009, but said he had been noticing symptoms for a year.

His experiences of living with the condition prompted Mr Vickers to write a poem called Imagine about Parkinson’s Disease to inform people about the symptoms.

Before his diagnosis, the former legal practice manager, who worked in Manchester, noticed he was getting slower and slower as he walked to work.

He added: “I was walking from the station to the office and I found young ladies in high heels were overtaking me.

“I was fit and active and went to the gym in my lunch hour, but suddenly the tables were turned and people were overtaking me.

“When I looked at my steps on the pavement I realised I was taking smaller steps and they were slower and at lunch time, by the time I had got to the gym and got changed, I hardly had any time to work out.

“I knew there was something wrong before I was diagnosed.

“They checked me over and said I did not have Parkinson’s Disease, but then a year later they said I did.

“It is very difficult to diagnose, the only way they san be sure is if they take your brain out and slice it up.”

There are 127,000 Parkinson’s disease sufferers in the UK, and despite 40 years of research there is no cure.

It affects the brain’s ability to communicate with muscles, which reduces balance and coordination and can sometimes result in tremors.

Mr Vickers says Parkinson’s disease is a very “frustrating” and “debilitating” disease and he wants to make people more aware of the symptoms. The father-of-two said ignorance often means people mistake sufferers as drunks because of the way their balance is affected.

He added that sometimes, when he is struggling with his keys at his front door, he probably looks like he is on the way home from a night out, but has been left upset in the past when people have made jibes at him.

Recently, at an open mic night, Mr Vickers, who plays the guitar and is a member of a choir in Leigh, was trying to get his guitar strap off when he was heckled by a member of the audience.

“I could have given him a lecture and I could have quite happily gone over and punched him in the face,” he said.

“It is not pleasant and you feel unjustly persecuted but other people have had a lot worse than that,” he said.

Mr Vickers lives with his wife Sheila, aged 64, who helps care for him.

He said although he would love to do many things for himself he can’t because he is too slow.

Mr Vickers added: “Theoretically I am able to do things for myself but in practice I can’t because there is not enough time in the day. I would need 36 hours in the day.

“It is a very frustrating situation for people with Parkinson’s disease and about two thirds are clinically depressed.

“It can also be quite debilitating for you and the person looking after you.

“You can get very very hopeless with it, to the extent that you can’t swallow and can’t control your bladder.

“I have good days and bad days, but some people who have it badly have days when they literally can’t get out of bed.”

Mr Vickers is hopeful that recent breakthroughs in medical research will lead to a cure for Parkinson’s but he is also worried that this will be too late to help him.