Belfast Telegraph

Raven Club soars to new heights in Ervine fundraiser

Members of the Raven Social Club in east Belfast have raised a record £1,725 in their annual charity fundraiser in memory of former club president David Ervine.

Chairman Stephen Beattie said they tried to have the fundraiser as close as possible to the former MLA’s anniversary on January 8 as possible.

This year they held a sponsored walk from the Old House at Moneyreagh to the Raven club, as well as a cabaret night.

The total raised is £6,725 and will be used in vital medical research in Belfast to combat heart and stroke illness.

Stephen Beattie, chairman of the club, thanked the club members and all who donated for showing such generosity in these difficult times.

“We were astounded by the fact that the event produced such a large sum. We are very pleased that these funds will be used to tackle high blood pressure which was a problem David Ervine had encountered for some time before his death,” he added.

Andrew Dougal, chief executive of NICHS, who received the cheque from Mrs Jeanette Ervine, Dawn Purvis MLA and members of the Club, said: “We must redouble our efforts to ensure that, through improved treatment and prevention, we reduce greatly the number of premature deaths from heart disease in Northern Ireland. Already the death toll on younger people has declined by 71%. However, people in their 40s and their 50s are still dying without warning.”

Mr Dougal said respiratory diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma were rampant in inner east Belfast. It is important that there is proper self-management of these long-term conditions. NICHS is at the forefront in rolling out programmes of self-management for those individuals with serious lung conditions.

Mr Dougal also called on the Health Minister to have an urgent review of the supply of oxygen for patients who need it, adding that in England patients are offered various forms of delivery of oxygen therapy.

“Sadly, although portable oxygen concentrators are now available in England, no such devices have been supplied from the Health Service in Northern Ireland. This is another example of a postcode lottery where Northern Ireland is the last country in the United Kingdom to benefit from improvements in service,” he said.

“All the work which we do in Northern Ireland is only possible because of the generosity of the people of Northern Ireland and people like the members of the Raven Social Club as well as the Royal Ancient Order of Buffaloes.”

Blood pressure assessments are provided at Connswater Shopping Centre on each Monday and Thursday between 11am-3pm, as well as advice on lung health and support in quitting smoking.

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