Dozens of people attended the funeral of a ‘remarkable’ Nailsea man on Monday, who died following a 33-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Bob Close was diagnosed with the illness at the age of 39 but did not let the condition stop him from helping others.

He played an instrumental role, along with his wife Dorothy, in setting up the North West Somerset branch of Parkinson’s UK having spoken to the charity about the difficulties he faced travelling from Nailsea to Bristol.

The group was founded in 1994 and began with about 20 members but it has flourished ever since producing newsletters, raising awareness about the illness and also providing comfort for those diagnosed with it and their families.

Jill Gilbert, who is a member of the branch based in Nailsea, paid tribute to Bob after his death in November.

Mrs Gilbert said: “Sadly, Bob had to go into a nursing home for the last few years of his life but his legacy remains in the thriving North West Somerset Branch of Parkinson’s UK which now has in excess of 200 members.

“Bob was a remarkable man of great courage and generosity and he and Dorothy were grateful for the many friendships they made over the years, not just locally but also nationally in what they call the ‘Parky family’.”

Bob worked for BT up until 1991 when ill-health forced him to retire.

His illness did not prevent him from raising £5,000 that year for the Parkinson’s Disease Society by arranging activities for his colleagues.

He also wrote pieces about respite care and travelled to various parts in the UK to talk about the condition and how difficult it could be to get care.

Bob’s funeral was held on Monday as St Francis of Assissi Church in Nailsea and it was packed with well-wishers who mourned his death.

The North West Somerset Branch of Parkinson’s UK meets for a coffee morning on the second Saturday of each month at St Francis Church Hall in Nailsea from 10.30am to 12.15pm.

The next meeting will take place on December 12, with musical entertainment by The Magpies.

Anyone who wishes to find out more about the group can call Mrs Gilbert on 01275 855524.