British Lung Foundation head talks at meeting of Breathe Easy Group

A GOOD turn-out of members, old and new, welcomed Mike McKevitt, head of Patient Services at the British Lung Foundation to the January meeting of the West Lancashire and Southport Breathe Easy Group.

He set up a Video Conference between those present at the meeting at the Girl Guide HQ in Green Lane, Ormskirk, and the BLF National Helpline, based at their Liverpool Office.

There was a particular reason for this, being that the BLF hope to perfect this technology so that Breathe Easy Groups throughout the country, including groups in quite isolated areas, can access expert advice.

Patricia Ireland from the group said: “We in the West Lancashire and Southport Group were therefore acting as guinea pigs, to help the BLF perfect the technical side of things!

“Vicky Barber, the BLF Nurse manager, spoke to us first through this video link, giving us very useful advice about the current flu outbreak.

“She explained that the flu jabs we all had last Autumn were the best that could be given at the time, but are always guesswork, as no-one can know for sure what strain of virus will be doing the rounds the following winter.

“If anyone with respiratory illness develops flu-like symptoms, they are eligible for ‘Tamiflu’ to ward off the worst of the illness, and should contact their GP.

“She also gave us really good advice about disease transmission, – and the great importance of handwashing and use of alcoholic wipes to clean our hands.

“Later Leah of the BLF helpline, continuing on this Video Link, spoke to us about relevant non means-tested benefits! It was really interesting to receive this information ‘direct’ and be able to see and ask questions of the BLF Helpline!”

Mike Mckevitt then presented an award to Irene Norman of Up Holland, the founder member of the group and long-time chairperson until 2014, (when she handed over to the present chairman, Harry Thacker.

This award was not just for what she has done in founding and leading the local group in Ormskirk and Southport for so many years, but also what she continues to do, nationally, for the British Lung Foundation.

Patricia added: “Irene’s efforts for the BLF are continuing, magnificent and outstanding! She goes out to help start up new Breathe Easy Groups, she sits in on Interview Panels for BLF recruitment… you name it, our amazing local lady continues to show that we in the North West of England are prepared to work full-on to help our local communities, as unpaid volunteers!”

The next meeting will be held at the usual venue, Green Lane Guide HQ, next door to the Rugby Club in Ormskirk, on Monday, February 20th, when a representative of Age UK will be coming to speak.

Free light refreshments will be served from 11am and the meeting proper will start at 11.30 am, finishing by 12.30am.