Chantelle at Buckingham Palace

A Royal day to remember for Chantelle and her Mum

A woman who built up her ME/CFS support group to be one of the most successful in the country has been honoured with an invitation to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. 

Chantelle Parry, who formed the Gloucestershire ME/CFS Friendship Group four years ago, was secretly nominated to attend by her pals in the group over two years ago – but the invitation had to be put on ice because of the pandemic.

“She’s the most amazing organiser who has this knack for bringing people together and keeping them together”, said a friend Louise, who has worked with Chantelle in the group almost since the  beginning.

“Initially she got 11 people together.  But now there are over 500 members and we hold meetings round the county. 

“We arranged a showing of Jen Brea’s ‘Unrest’ film  at the local university in 2018 and discussions about it on social media. It all took off from there.” 

Chantelle and her mum, Michelle Shepstone, attended the garden party on a rain-swept day last month when the chief hosts were Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. 

“We weren’t selected to talk to the royals but Charles came within touching distance.  It was a definite ‘pinch-me’ moment because it all seemed so unreal”, said Chantelle. “We had a day we will remember for the rest of our lives.” 

Louise added: “Chantelle has this ability to get things done – she is so lovely and supportive of everyone in the group that people are always happy to volunteer to help her out”

Last year, the group persuaded the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral to bathe the cathedral in blue light for ME Awareness Day and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people read all about ME/CFS and the group in the cathedral’s online visitors book.  This year, they chose to run a cake sale in Quedgeley Community Centre in Gloucester. 

In 2018, Chantelle was interviewed all about ME/CFS and the group in a big feature in the “Daily Mirror”.

The group – which welcomes new members with Long Covid – holds regular meetings every month in Cheltenham at the Norwood Arms, in various places round Gloucester itself and in Dursley at the King’s Head. There are also twice monthly meetings on Zoom.

If you would like to join in, please email Chantelle at chantelleparry@outlook.com or find the group on Facebook at ME/CFS Friendship Group in Gloucestershire

Tony Britton
Fundraising and PR Manager
tony.britton@meassociation.org.uk Mob: 07946 760 811

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