This week I heard about the story of Mary and Raymond. Mary, from West Chiltington, sadly passed away in 1987 of bowel cancer. On that same night, her husband Raymond swore to build a health screening charity to make bowel screening tests accessible to everyone. 35 years on, the Mary How Trust provides ten multi-test health screenings a day in their three clinical rooms.
I had a chance to visit the Trust’s recently opened Pulborough health centre and see first-hand the important work that the Trust’s specialist sonography team and the blood laboratory do. Today, the Trust delivers a range of testing to spot the early signs of cancer and life-threatening illnesses. Early detection is absolutely crucial to receiving early treatment and better outcomes and I would encourage everyone over 40 to get book themselves a future check-up. During my visit, I heard how the Mary How Trust is now fundraising for a fourth clinic room – I would encourage anyone who can to donate to this important cause.
One local issue to be aware of is the current outbreak of Avian Influenza, otherwise known as Bird Flu, in the Horsham and surrounding areas. Those areas are now a monitoring zone. This is a fatal strain of the virus in many species of birds that has spread across Europe and is now arriving here. Wild birds as well as poultry are affected. This week I met with the Government’s top vets to understand how the action they are taking to tackle this outbreak will affect our local agricultural industries. Specific advice will be directed to our local farmers by the Government but for households the guidance is clear.
Those who keep pet birds at home must keep a close watch on them for illness and their cages should be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. It’s also worth remembering that if you’re out and about and you spot dead birds, call the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77, and keep dogs and little ones well away.