The Honourable Mary Parkinson was a game changer. Determined to live up to her courtesy pre-nominal, Mary was devoted to the very difficult task of facing recovery from addiction, publicly, one day at a time. Although the final months of Mary’s life were blighted with an aggressive form of depression, which concluded in her heartbreakingly sad death, Mary’s life was ultimately one of victory, not defeat.
For those who knew Mary (and there were many) her life was far removed from the tragic ‘poor little rich girl’ image that some newspapers would have her portrayed. There was far more to Mary than that. Mary Parkinson was a pioneer – a trailblazer for how to live a happy, valuable and sober life. And she carried that message to countless individuals with whom she came into contact.
A passionate fundraiser, a tireless advocate for addiction and hepatitis C, a dedicated sponsor, a diligent yoga practitioner, a loving family girl, and a generous and loyal friend, Mary Parkinson was a strong and highly evolved woman. Consistently humble and at ease, from football terraces to star-studded royal events, Mary cast an authentic and gracious presence. She shared genuine friendships with people from every walk of life. She related to everyone.
Yet the greatest impact of Mary’s contribution over the last three decades will be revealed in the years to come. The brave and courageous spirit that lies deep at the heart of the UK recovery community has been shaped and influenced by Mary’s unflagging service. Mary Parkinson will be remembered as the most honourable, a woman who fought addiction to her very last breath. And in doing so, she changed our society for ever.