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Borough buildings to light in red to celebrate 75th birthday of NI Chest Heart and Stroke charity

'We hope this small gesture highlights our gratitude for all the hard work and invaluable support they have provided over the years and continue to offer'

Buildings in the ABC borough will be lit red on Monday to help Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke celebrate its 75th anniversary.

And the charity has thanked Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council for agreeing to make this fitting gesture.

Armagh Gaol, the Palace, The Town Hall in Banbridge, and  Craigavon Civic Centre will all light in red on June 14.

First established in 1946, the charity was formed by 16 visionary volunteers as the first NI branch of the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis. After successfully lobbying for improved public health measures to combat the spread of TB, the charity adapted and evolved, changing its focus to concentrate on all diseases of the chest and heart in 1959, and further expanding to include stroke in 1976.

Today, 75 years on, the charity continues to care for and support local people living with chest, heart and stroke illness across Northern Ireland.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council is proud to support this landmark occasion and will celebrate by lighting up civic buildings – as well as the Armagh Gaol – in red, the charity’s signature colour,  on the anniversary date on Monday.

Lord Mayor Glenn Barr said: “I am proud that as a council we can show our support for Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke by illuminating our buildings red on Monday.

“On what is the organisation’s 75th anniversary, we hope this small gesture highlights our gratitude for all the hard work and invaluable support they have provided over the years and continue to offer to those with chest, heart and stroke conditions.”

Declan Cunnane, CEO of NICHS, offered thanks.

“We are so grateful for the support of Alderman Glenn Barr on this momentous occasion,” he said. “Over the last 75 years, we have worked continuously and tirelessly to care for members of the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon community and we have no intention of slowing down now!

“We were founded as a reaction to the Tuberculosis public health crisis three quarters of a century ago, and today we battle another respiratory pandemic – COVID-19.”

Over the last 18 months, and in reaction to the pandemic, the charity has adapted its rehabilitation programmes and care groups to a virtual platform, conducted online health checks and designed webinars for schools and community groups, set up a one-of-its-kind COVID recovery service to support sufferers of long COVID, and has made over 32,000 support calls to clients.

Declan said: “People don’t realise but almost 90% of our services are funded directly by public donations. So, to be frank, we couldn’t have done any of this without the ongoing generosity of the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon community.

“On behalf of our service users and our staff, I wish to sincerely thank you.”

To find out more about the history of NICHS or ways to support NICHS, visit www.nichs.org.uk

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