Winchester welcomes Tourettes awareness tour

A nationwide tour to raise awareness of Tourettes Syndrome was welcomed to Winchester today (Friday 4 October) by the City Council.

Four mothers of children and adults with Tourettes from the north-east are aiming to visit all 52 English cities in just ten days with their ‘Tourettes Awareness Challenge’.

In Winchester the four - Donna Emmerson, Lizzy Mienik, Jac Campbell and Eileen Darling - met Lorraine Ronan, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Alison Gavin, Head of Organisational Development, and Martin O’Neill, Head of Corporate Communications, from Winchester City Council.

The women handed over an information pack about Tourettes Syndrome – covering health, education, employment and social support. The City Council pledged to include information about Tourettes on its website and presented the tour team with a memento of their visit.

Donna Emmerson said:

We intend to spread the word that there are people with Tourettes in every city in England – and they need understanding and support. It’s a simple message, but we want to people to know that it’s a complex and much-misunderstood condition.

Lorraine Ronan, Winchester City Council’s Head of Health and Wellbeing, said:

The City Council was pleased to welcome Donna, Liz, Jac and Eileen to Winchester on their whistlestop tour. It is an excellent way to raise awareness of Tourettes and we are happy to include information on our website to promote the message more widely.

The four women wore the distinctive black and green T-shirts of the charity Tourettes Action. They have nine children and eight grandchildren between them – including six with Tourettes Syndrome.

Eileen Darling, who has both a son and a grandson with Tourettes and learning disabilities, said:

I think most people know that people with Tourettes make sounds and movements they cannot help called tics. But what they don’t know is that more than 90 per cent of people with Tourettes have at least one other brain condition as well.

Jac Campbell said:

We all have personal experience through our children of how lack of understanding about Tourettes can have a huge negative impact on people with the condition. Often they are mocked, abused or simply just not included. We think it’s time for that to change.

The women hope that the road-trip will also help raise awareness of the work the Tourettes Action charity does in supporting whole families affected by Tourettes. Liz Mienik said:

We have raised all the money for the campaign ourselves – with the help of Nissan and our own families and friends. However we are really hoping that as well as increasing awareness of the disorder, the tour will also generate donations from right across the UK in recognition of the valuable work done by all of Tourettes Action’s local Support Groups from befriending to activities for children. We are run entirely by volunteers and can make a little go a very long way, so every penny counts.

Nissan UK provided the mums with a new Qashqai car to ensure a safe and successful road-trip.

Donations may be made at