Margaret, Countess of Mar, has marked ten years of Forward M.E., by meeting with staff and trustees from all the M.E. charities and groups that make up this collaborative.
Speaking at the very first Forward M.E. meeting in 2008, Margaret said:
“I have been in the House of Lords for very nearly 33 years. I have taken an active role in some successful campaigns and have watched the progress of other winners. What comes to my mind immediately is that they have always been supported by a united, informed and determined base of people who want to win.”
Since then, we have worked with Lady Mar under the Forward M.E. group banner on a wide range of issues ranging from child protection and medical education through to NHS services and the ever-present need for biomedical research. Most recently we met to highlight the urgent need for a full review of the NICE guideline for M.E./CFS by taking an active role in the scoping and consultation process.
Regular meetings see Lady Mar invite a range of professionals from the health, social care and research fields, as well as ministers, politicians and civil servants from the various government departments that have an effect on M.E. policy, to the House of Lords. This provides important opportunities for us to raise the profile of M.E. and put forward our case for improved medical education, better NHS services and more biomedical research.
The recent meeting with Prof Kamila Hawthorne, Vice Chair of Professional Development at the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), resulted in Forward M.E. hosting a successful workshop attended by over 250 GPs and a busy exhibition stand at the annual RCGP conference in Glasgow earlier this month.
Dr Charles Shepherd, who represents the ME Association on Forward M.E., says: “We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding and conscientious parliamentarian working with M.E. charities and groups at Westminster and chairing Forward M.E.
“On behalf of everyone with M.E, and their carers, I would like to thank the Countess of Mar for everything that she has done over the past ten years, and for organising such a lovely lunch at the House of Lords to celebrate the 10th Birthday of Forward M.E.
“In return for all her hard work, members presented the Countess with a plaque to acknowledge her contribution along with a surprise gift – which was far too big to bring to the House to Lords! – to go in her garden.”
Names to faces:
Front row – left to right
Tanya Harrison (BRAME), Countess of Mar, Dr Nina Muirhead
First row – left to right
Clare Ogden (AfME), Carol Monaghan MP, Janice Kent (ReMEmber), Christine Harrison (BRAME), Sonya Chowdhury (AfME), Sue Waddle (MERUK)
Back row – left to right
Dr Nigel Speight (Tymes Trust and ME Association paediatric medical adviser), Tony Crouch (25% ME Group), Hannah Clifton (ME Trust), Jonathan Davies (MERUK), Dr Gareth Tuckwell (ME Trust), Suzie Henson-Amphlett representing Jane Colby (Tymes Trust), Sarah Reed (ME Action), Dr Paul Worthley (ME Trust), Dr William Weir, Bill Kent (ReMEmber), Dr Charles Shepherd (ME Association).