Calls going out for reward for Borders Tourette's campaigner's work

Tourette's syndrome sufferer John Davidson says he is 'totally flattered' by calls for him to be honoured in recognition of his work to raise awareness of the condition.

Saturday, 28th January 2017, 12:48 pm
John Davidson.

The 45-year-old, a community centre caretaker, has been widely praised on social media following his appearance earlier this month in a BBC documentary.

John, of Galashiels, has lived with the neurological disorder since childhood, and Tourette’s: Teenage Tics showed how he deals with it as well as charting his mentoring relationship with Rory Brown, 12, a first-year student at Jedburgh Grammar School.

Both share the most severe form of a condition which manifests itself in involuntary tics and bursts of uncontrollable swearing.

The film uses flashbacks to 1989 and the first of four documentaries featuring John as an isolated and misunderstood pupil of Galashiels Academy.

Since then, he has become an awareness-raising champion for Tourette’s sufferers.

He founded a Borders support group aimed at helping the families of sufferers back in 2003 and still organises annual residential get-togethers in Galashiels.

After the screening of the new documentary, Borderers took to Facebook to express their admiration for John’s efforts – and to call for his achievements to be acknowledged with an honour.

“John definitely deserves recognition for the work he does raising awareness of Tourette’s,” wrote Lee Green.

John Cummings commented: “Sportsmen get knighted. It’s a joke. People like John Davidson and people who dedicate themselves and their lives to helping others are the people who deserve honours like that.

“John has educated millions of people on Tourette’s and the hard life it can bring with it.”

William Bell stated: “When I see the honours list every year, I always think John should be on there. He’s a great guy.”

Rory’s mum Lisa also believes John’s efforts are worthy of recognition, saying: “I echo each and every call that has been made for John to receive an honour. “For decades now, he has supported people with Tourette’s and their families, as well as raising awareness of the condition throughout the world.

“John is a very modest man and would never blow his own trumpet, but I’m in no doubt he has saved lives over the years with his advice and support.

“He really deserves some recognition for the selfless work he has done, and I won’t be surprised if it happens sooner rather than later.”

Johnn told us: “I am totally flattered to get such a positive response, but I’m just a human being who wants to help others, and I have never thought about getting any acknowledgement or reward.

“However, if I were to receive an honour, I would gratefully accept it and be delighted not just for myself but for everyone in the Tourette’s family.

“Any publicity is always welcome.”