South Shields couple retire after almost a decade in charge of support group

A couple who have spent almost a decade supporting people with respiratory problems have handed over the baton to a new wave of helpers.

Friday, 4th May 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 4th May 2018, 9:01 am
Breathe Easy lung group founders Maureen and Leon Jones retire from the group

Maureen and Leon Jones have been described as the driving force behind the Breathe Easy group - set up as part of the British Lung Foundation.

For almost a decade they have organised social evenings, trips and regular meetings for those diagnosed with a breathing condition and those who care for them.

Breathe Easy lung group founders Maureen and Leon Jones retire from the group

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Over the years, with support from group members they have raised thousands of pounds for both the British Lung Foundation and to purchase equipment for the Acute Respiratory Assessment Service (ARAS) for patients and the respiratory ward 10 at South Tyneside District Hospital - including nebulisers and easy chairs.

Maureen suffers from a pulmonary condition which leaves her needing a regular supply of oxygen.

The couple, from South Shields, have both decided to step down from their roles within the committee to move closer to their family in another part of the region.

Following the couple’s departure, the group have decided to break away from the charity and re-launch themselves as a stand alone entity with committee members Margaret Binnie and Beryl Johnson becoming key members with Sue Andrews taking on the role of secretary.

Breathe East lung group new committee. Front secretary Sue Andrews

The group is continuing to be supported by Tracey Brydon, a respiratory nurse specialist, who also volunteers her time to support members.

Maureen, 65, who started the group after seeing a speaker talk about Breathe Easy groups in other parts of the country, said: “Knowing I’m no longer going to be part of the group is very strange as it has been a big part of our lives. Everyone who has attended the group have become friends and it is nice to have been given the opportunity to meet new people.

“It is such a lovely group of people. I will be sad, but it’s the right time for us to step down and retire.

“The group members themselves are very generous. And we couldn’t have done what we have done without their help and support.”

Leon, 76, said: “It’s such a nice little group. And while we won’t be able to be part of it anymore, we will be keeping in touch to see how everyone is doing.”

Tracey said: “Maureen and Leon will be a big miss from the group and myself personally. We want to wish them well and it is only right they be recognised for the hard work they have done and what they have achieved since starting the group from scratch.”

The group will continue to hold its monthly meetings on the third Friday of the month at St Gregory’s Church Hall from 2pm.

The sessions aim to give people the chance to meet up with each other for a chat and cuppa. On occasions the group invite guest speakers and entertainers along.

Anyone who would like more information on the group can drop-in to one of the meetings or call Sue on 908 0120.

The next meeting will take place on May 18.