The long and successful campaigning of a small group which raises funds for brittle bone sufferers has just reached its 40th year.
The Longridge Branch of the Brittle Bone Society was founded in 1973 and now remains one of only two branches still operating in the country, the other being in Northern Ireland.
Over the years, the branch has raised £97,770 and two of its original founder members, current chairman and treasurer Gertie Farmery and Jacqueline Quinn, joined other members including secretary, Gertie’s husband John, to mark the anniversary with a special lunch at the Alston Arms in Longridge.
Gertie Farmery gave a vote of thanks to all committee members, both past and present, who had helped the branch raise such a magnificent amount over the 40 years, and she also recounted the first jumble sale that was held in 1973 to raise funds when her house had jumble in every room before the event.
Treasurer Jacqueline recalled the first amount sent up to the society’s head office in Dundee.
“Fifty pounds doesn’t sound much by today’s standards, but the average weekly wage was then only around £50,” she said.
The branch continues with its many and varied fundraising activities but the main reason for its launch was that Gertie’s daughter, Lynda, was born with brittle bones.
Her mum saw an appeal in the Sunday Post from the founder of the national society, Margaret Grant, asking anyone having children with Osteo Genesis Imperfecta - imperfect bones at birth - to contact her with a view to supporting families with children affected by brittle bones.
Gertie, whose daughter was born in 1965 with 13 fractures - seven before birth and six during birth - contacted Margaret and, with the help of family and friends founded the Longridge Branch in 1973, being the first branch to be formed.
Lynda, with help and support from her family and the society, progressed very well in spite of her disability and got stronger as she got older.
She was able to attend Blackburn College where she gained secretarial qualifications.
After her tragic death in a road accident in Longridge in 1994 the branch continued with it fundraising activities throughout the north west region.
It now has around 1,000 members nationwide, and works closely with NHS centres of excellence in the UK in Sheffield, Birmingham, London, Bristol and Glasgow, to research into the causes and treatment for the condition,
It also provides specialised wheelchairs and other special equipment, support and meetings to help the sufferers and their families have a better quality of life.
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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