Constantine Cornwall

‘Multiple Sclerosis & The Merlin Centre’

Steve Lawrence

Our Speaker Mr. Steve Lawrence, was welcomed on a very warm evening and the insight he gave us into the Condition of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and the Merlin Centre at Hewas Water was “eye opening”.

There are 5,000 people in the UK, each year diagnosed with MS, mainly in women, and the highest number in the country from The Orkney Islands, Cornwall is 2nd with 1,500.

The central nervous system is protected by the Myelin Sheath but for, as yet unknown reasons, this protective sheath is destroyed by inflammation and scarring. Thus leaving nerves throughout the body unprotected, causing a great deal of pain in whichever problem area attacked. Every patient diagnosed will have different symptoms and it can take up to 18 months for MS to be diagnosed because the range of symptoms is so varied it can be mistaken for other illnesses.

After 7 years of fundraising, The Merlin Centre was built in 2009 for Cornwall, be- cause the nearest facility previously was in Exeter and by 2015 there were 70 people a day receiving treatment. This includes many therapies, physio, hydrotherapy, oxygen therapy and even the social contact improves quality of life. There are 3 full time staff and 50 to 60 volunteers. There are Outreach Centres in Hayle and Bodmin. Patients can be seen by Self Re- ferral, respite can be given at the Centre for up to 3 days a week.

There are many fundraising & social events around Cornwall, Art Auctions, Christmas Fairs etc. The Centre is not funded by the NHS. The Centre was very lucky to receive £1 million pounds from a local Lottery Winner recently which helped build the Hydrotherapy Pool. One of our members , Mrs Lucie Nottingham, will be opening her garden at Trenarth, Constantine in September for Multiple Sclerosis. All are welcome.

July boat trip to Malpas

Members had a very enjoyable Birthday River Boat Trip along the Fal on 1st July, a dry, clear evening, finishing at Malpas, a surprise because of a good high tide. Some of our new members put together our entry for The Stithians Show on 15 July. There was no meeting in August but members were invited to “bring a plate” to share at the home of our new President Mrs Liz Pearce.

The WI will be at the Transition Community Day on 14 September with many items of interest showing our many and varied trips and plans. Please feel free to come and talk.

Our meeting in September will be speakers from The Cornish Food Box, and in October Rubina Tyler-Street will talk about Cornish Gins and Spirits. Food and Drink – who could resist!! Both meetings on the second Monday, starting at 7.15pm.