Loving John's Retirement Gesture To Wife

12 August 2009

John and Jenny Paling

John Paling retires after thirty five years as a Lecturer and Head of Mechanical and Manufacturing at the University to look after his wife Jenny.

I'm hoping to raise at least £500 from the event

John Palin

Generous University of Derby lecturer John Paling will use funds from his retirement party to support his wife who has been severely affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Jenny (60), who taught Secretarial Studies, including Shorthand and Typing to 120 words a minute level, at Wilmorton College of Further Education, and Special Needs at other educational institutes' in Derby, was first diagnosed with MS in her early fifties. She was told by her doctor the condition was unpredictable and that she could remain reasonably well for the next thirty years.

Unfortunately over the last six years Jenny has gone from being a fit and active person, to having limited communication skills and is now confined to a wheelchair. The couple also have three grown up children and a one year old grandson.

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the condition is the result of damage to the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres of the central nervous system which interferes with messages between the brain and other parts of the body. For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern.

John (62) said: "MS is devastating but Jenny is the love of my life and I will do everything in my power to help her."

John will use his retirement party to raise funds for the Nottingham MS Therapy Centre. He said: "I'm hoping to raise at least £500 from the event."

Jenny goes to the centre once a week for treatment to relieve her symptoms. As the centre is completely self funded, it costs about £80,000 a year to run. John wanted to take this opportunity to thank the staff for all the support they give his wife and make sure they can continue to support her and the other 101 members.

John added: "I've been considering retirement for some time as it's been getting harder to juggle family life, caring for Jenny and holding down a full time demanding job. I believe now is right which means I can enjoy spending more time with Jenny, as she needs me to help her more and more."

Maureen Mangan, Nottingham MS Therapy Centre Manager said: "John is a very generous man and I know he's always been pleased with the treatment we offer here. Throughout the five years Jenny has been visiting the centre she has always remained cheerful. It's wonderful of John to support the centre in this way, we are all very grateful."

John from Church Lane, Barrow on Trent, Derbyshire retires from the University after 35 years as Former Head of Mechanical and Manufacturing, and Principal Lecturer.

During his career he has taught over 4,000 students, including one of his sons, on a range of subjects including Motorsport, Product Design and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and has many memories from his time here.

He remembers in particular a student who had Cystic Fibrosis and had been diagnosed as only having two years to live. John supported her in her studies throughout the illness and was proud and emotional to see her gain her qualification and graduate three years later.

Another Derby graduate, Corvina Johnson, who gained an HND in Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering and a BSc (Hons) Design Technology Management degree in 2004 was taught and supported by John. Corvina is now a Building Services Manager managing construction sites for London based Chorus and is currently project managing a major refurbishment of the Savoy Hotel in London.

Corvina said: "Derby was very lucky to have John, a lecturer that cared so much about his students. I truly believe if it was not for the support from him I would not be where I am today!"

John's retirement party invite is for all students he's taught over the years, staff he's worked with at the University, family and friends. It takes place on Monday 26 October in the Academy Bar, at the University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB from 8pm.

Tickets are £5 covering entry and a disco, all funds raised will go towards Nottingham MS Therapy Centre. Available now from Nottingham MS Therapy Centre Ltd, Unit H2, Trent Park Industrial Estate, Little Tennis Street South, Nottingham NG2 4EU or call 0115 9505991.

For further information on this story please contact Alumni Relations Officer Laura Ratcliffe on 01332 591368 or mobile 07768 091248 or email: l.ratcliffe@derby.ac.uk

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