World Arthritis Day was Tuesday, 12 October and I had a wonderful day in Westminster. It started very positively, Ailsa Bosworth, our Chief Executive, was well enough to come to London to mark World Arthritis Day. Ailsa has had a terrible time with her rheumatoid arthritis and has not been in the NRAS office since July, so this was a tremendous step forward.
The theme of World Arthritis Day 2010 was ‘let’s work together’ so it was very appropriate that on the day NRAS members, health professionals and MPs all worked together to support NRAS in its campaign for improvements in services for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Three NRAS Members agreed to help on the day and we met Jean, Sarah and Helen at the gates to Downing Street along with our Chief Medical Advisor, Professor David Scott. We were shortly joined by three very supportive MPs. Together we delivered letters, that NRAS Members had written describing their experiences of living with rheumatoid arthritis, to the Prime Minister, at 10 Downing Street.
It was lovely to see Jean, Sarah and Helen at Downing Street. It was the first day of Parliament was sitting after the recess, so all of our MPs were tried up and not able to talk to us. Jean’s MP is Vince Cable and as we realised from the news later in the day, he had something else on his mind – university fees. Jean is not daunted; she aims to see Vince Cable in his constituency surgery.
Helen mentioned she had never been inside the Palace of Westminster, so whilst we were so close, thought it worth trying to get inside. After a long conversation with a very nice policeman we were allowed inside. Helen can confirm I make a poor Westminster tour guide, but we did walk through the very impressive Westminster Hall, built by William the Conqueror’s son, to Central Lobby. Whilst there we saw Paddy Ashdown and John Prescott walk through on their way to the Lords. The Lobby itself is beautiful, octagon shaped with a rich mosaic-covered vault. Photography is not allowed so we went outside to record our visit.
Since then Jean, Sarah and Helen have been very busy spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter and blogs about what NRAS is doing and the need for better services for people with rheumatoid arthritis.Thank you.
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