Brian helps to drive forward better care for HD families in Moray

Brian’s loves to get out and about in his Mini Cooper, juggling his role at a local museum with co-ordinating support meetings, activities and get-togethers for HD families in Moray.

“I was 12 when I first sat in an MGB Open Top Roadster, it belonged to my uncle Tom and that was the start of it really, I’ve been hooked ever since…” 

Grandad Brian Watt is fueled by two great passions – his lifelong love of classic cars is matched only by a determination to improve the care of people with Huntington’s disease. Here’s his story: 

 My father died in 1988 and my sister, who lives in Canada, is now in 24/7 care. I knew I was at 50% risk but because I’ve always been active and felt healthy, it was a shock when I tested positive for the HD gene in February 2016. 

 “It floored me but then I started to think about what to do next. I took early retirement after 38 years in the whisky industry, leaving at a high point in my career was the right decision for me. Physically I’m very good but I do feel fatigue more and I can be clumsy. 

 “I’ve had four TVR sports cars, an MGB Roadster, an Alfa Romeo Spider and now I have a 1996 Mini Cooperso I jumped at the chance to join Moray Motor Museum as part-time curator. I enjoy meeting people and talking to them. 

 That social connection is vital and knowing that many HD families felt isolated and unsupported, I set about re-starting the Moray Support Group. Since March 2018, it’s grown to become one of the most active HD groups with more than 30 local family members and carers at meetings. We get together for a coffee and a blether in between times too. 

 “When my father died 31 years ago there was no specialist HD care in Moray and little had changed since. As a group, with the support of SHA and Professor Zosia at ARI Genetics Aberdeen, we began campaigning and in July of this year the first specialist HD nurse for Moray started in post. What a difference that makes for the families! But there’s more to do and we’re here to fundraise, increase awareness and fight for equal care for the HD community.” 

 Brian Watt, 64, Elgin 


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