AWAY from his life on stage and screen the late and much loved actor Richard Briers spent many years offering support to sufferers of a degenerative disorder.

During his time as the president of Parkinson’s UK from 1995, and later its honorary vice president in 2006, Mr Briers leant a helping hand to the cause in Worcestershire by supporting the Worcester and District branch.

His link with the charity began when his second cousin, Terry-Thomas, was diagnosed with the condition.

Branch committee member Arthur Burgess and his wife Joan met Mr Briers at Malvern Theatres in September 2002 while he was playing the role of Prospero in the Tempest, describing being honoured for 12 years of service as a “great” experience.

Mr Burgess said: “He really was through and through, all of the time, a nice guy. It was not just a front, he was there all the time as the same person and that was nice.

“He gave many years furthering our cause.”

Mrs Burgess also received a certificate of recognition for her contribution to the charity’s work.

The condition occurs when sufferers don't have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died.

The main symptoms are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.

Mr Briers died on Monday, at the age of 79, having battled a serious lung condition for a number of years.

Apart from his role as Tom Good The Good Life, he is perhaps best known for his role as Smee in the film Peter Pan, as well as starring in shows such as Ever Decreasing Circles and Monarch of the Glen.

Mr Briers was also a patron of the Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society and opened the town’s Market Theatre in 2000 after accepting the keys to the venue in 1999.

He last visited the town in 2004, when an audience enjoyed the fund-raising event, An Evening with Richard Briers.

The Worcester and District branch covers most of south Worcestershire and began life in Malvern in 1988.