Raising money for Strokes

Dear Editor,

Three years ago my wonderful Mum, Diana, suffered a severe stroke. She died four weeks later. I had left her that morning; she had walked her beloved dog Pippa, washed her car and was going to garden for the rest of the day.

My Mum was the most active, ‘full of life’ person I knew. She LOVED life. She was my best friend and I miss her every day.

Stroke is cruel. There are no warning signs but when it strikes, it destroys lives.

The sad truth is that I’m not alone - everyday stroke still turns lives upside down in an instant.

This killer disease has been ignored for too long in the UK, and the shocking truth is that stroke is a more common than most people think.

The Stroke Association estimates that every day there are around 280 strokes in the UK and this wonderful charity helps people to recover from stroke. But right now, they need our help to ensure that they can continue this vital work.

So, I’m asking anyone who has lost a loved one to stroke to consider setting up a Stroke Association Tribute Fund.

It’s a wonderful way to share precious memories of your loved one, so that their story can live on.

Nobody plans for a stroke, but we can help the Stroke Association be here for every single person affected by stroke.

The money you raise will help to ensure that people can get the support they need while also funding critical stroke research. Visit tributefunds.stroke.org.uk/ today to find out more.

Yours sincerely,

Katherine Dow Blyton, actress

Helping to protect workers

For construction workers in Greater Manchester and across the UK, we’re calling on the Government to take action and prevent the ‘next asbestos’ from taking more lives in the UK.

It’s estimated that 600,000 workers across the UK are exposed to RCS - the dust created by cutting or fracturing brick and stone – which causes silicosis, the most common chronic occupational lung disease in the world.

Our recent joint parliamentary inquiry heard expert evidence that workplace exposure limits for RCS are too high, there are difficulties in diagnosis due to pressure on GPs’ time and problems accessing expert specialists, and there is a widespread lack of understanding and awareness among construction workers and employers of the risks around RCS.

We’re calling on the Government to take a number of crucial steps to address these issues and protect construction workers from what could develop into a future occupational health epidemic.

Yours Sincerely,

Jim Shannon MP, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group for Respiratory Health, House of Commons.

Mothers deserve a lot of credit

This Mother’s Day, I am thinking about everything women do to give their children the best start in life.

Like the women in countries such as Malawi, Liberia and India, who rise early each day to cook and serve food to hungry children in their communities with the charity Mary’s Meals.

Their dedication epitomises powerful motherly love, and it is thanks to them that Mary’s Meals is able to feed 1.6 million hungry children around the world every school day. The food they lovingly serve attracts little ones into the classroom, giving them the energy to gain an education that can, one day, be their ladder out of poverty.

I am in awe of these incredible women. And that’s why I am asking your readers to send a Mary’s Meals gift card to the special women in their lives this Mother’s Day. For just £15.90, it will feed a hungry child every day for an entire school year.

Please visit marysmeals.org.uk/mothersday to purchase your gift card in honour of the mums who make Mary’s Meals. I have already told my boys this is a gift I would be delighted to receive!

Sophie Thompson, actress supporting Mary's Meals Mother's Day campaign