New arthritis support group in running for Best of South Tyneside Award

A newly-formed arthritis support group has spoken of its joy following a nomination for a Best of South Tyneside Award.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 16:48 pm
South Tyneside - Versus Arthritis team (L-R) Sharon Simpson, Clair Boshier, Jeff Usher and June Usher.

South Tyneside - Versus Arthritis was set up just two months ago, but already it is making an impact on those living with the condition in the borough.

In recognition of its efforts it has been put forward for a Community Group Award in the Best of South Tyneside Awards.

The Best of South Tyneside Awards sponsors.

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The 71-year-old former firefighter and long distance runner, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis 15 years ago.

Meanwhile his daughter, Sharon Simpson, 47, has also suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 36.

She has joined her dad in who is helping to run the group, which is held on the second Monday of each month at Marsden Road Health and Wellbeing Centre.

Already it has more than 30 members and each session includes guest speakers and activities.

Sessions also provide a place for people to access information and share their experiences of the condition with others.

Their nomination said: "I think what this father and daughter are doing is amazing.

“They are giving a voice and support to South Shields sufferers of arthritis and they are not only doing it in a supportive and informative way but also in a friendly way which includes having fun activities to do together."

On the nomination Jeffrey said: “My focus is growing the group so we can support as many people in the borough with arthritis.

“This award nomination is tremendous in terms of a pat on the back for the group which is slowly developing and getting biggest as we go along.

"It is also great in terms of getting the message out there about what we do.

“Arthritis can be a hidden condition.

“There are many people with arthritis but you can’t always see it.

“There are a lot of people with it who manage to hold down a job and all sorts of things but it is undeniably a hidden condition.

“Versus nationally is trying to increase awareness of arthritis and the things we can do to help.”

The next Versus Arthritis group will be held on Monday, August 12 from 10am-noon.

How to nominate

The annual Best of South Tyneside Awards recognise amazing people who make a difference to so many lives.

We are asking the community to submit their nominations before the deadline of Friday, August 30.

Judges will then meet to draw up a shortlist in each amazing category on September 3.

Then it is on to the grand finale which will be held on Thursday, September 19, at the Roker Hotel.

The finals evening also feature the ever-popular Young Performer category.

This year the awards have been sponsored by Sunderland and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Barbour, JML, Harlow Print, UTS, Tyne Coast College and Warmseal.

To nominate, send your entries by email to:

Or visit:

The categories

Green Champion of the Year.

Child of Achievement.

Fundraiser of the Year.

Entrepreneur of the Year.

Local Hero Award.

Sporting Excellence/Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Sports Team of the Year.

Community Champion.

Student of the Year.

Community Group.

Small Business of the Year.

Large Business of the Year.

Child of Courage

Young Performer of the Year.

Lifetime Contribution.

Special Recognition.