Support group closes as it fails to attract new blood

The Arthritus Group in South Shields are folding and held at farewell event at The Best Western Sea Hotel, South Shields on Tuesday. Pictured l-r are Brian Risbridger sec., Jim Sewell, Magaret Baker treasurer, Margaret Newby Chairman, and Bill Brady preseident. Front is Bessie Downs. Both Margaret's have ben involvedcwith the group for over 40 years.

The Arthritus Group in South Shields are folding and held at farewell event at The Best Western Sea Hotel, South Shields on Tuesday. Pictured l-r are Brian Risbridger sec., Jim Sewell, Magaret Baker treasurer, Margaret Newby Chairman, and Bill Brady preseident. Front is Bessie Downs. Both Margaret's have ben involvedcwith the group for over 40 years.

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A support group for people with arthritis has been forced to call it a day after almost half a century of supporting people with the condition.

Trustees of the town’s branch of Arthritis Care say they were left no choice but to make the decision after no new members stepped forward to take over the reigns.

It was a very hard decision for us to take and it is sad, There were a lot of tears at the farewell party.

Margaret Newby

The group was formed in 1972 and since then has been providing a network of support for those with arthritis - including social evenings. A farewell event was held at The Sea Hotel, South Shields, for members to come together for one last social gathering.

Speeches were made while guests were also entertained with a singer.

The event was attended by Coun Bill Brady and Jim Sewell. Both had supported the group over the years.

Chairman, Margaret Newby, said: “All of the committee are getting older and with no new people coming forward to take over the reigns, with regret we have are having to close.

“I am 78 years old and have been a part of the group for the past 40 years, but it’s a lot of organising.

“It has been lovely, we have enjoyed trips out and social evenings but it comes a time when you can’t do it anymore and you just have to give up.

“It was a very hard decision for us to take and it is sad, There were a lot of tears at the farewell party.

“I have enjoyed my time with the group over the years and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us.”

The South Shields group was a branch of the national charity Arthritis Care which aims to help the estimated 10 million UK sufferers lead fulfilling and active lives.

For details on the charity visit www.arthritiscare.org.uk