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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 119

Date:- 04 October 2003

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RIVER Mersey Insure Rescue Service is asking for your help to raise the profile of the lifesaving organisation that has been running since 1984. The service is a registered charity relying on public and corporate support for its survival. The team is the only full time unit working in the UK, not even the Thames has such a service, and it patrols the waters 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Sadly it is lacking in support, as many people still do not know of its life saving existence on the Liverpool Princes Landing Stage, in the shadow of the famous Liver Building. Unlike their illustrious colleagues in the other emergency services the MIR guys work in sparse and sometimes cramped conditions in their offices. Often they work four at a time in little more than 2 adjoining portacabins on the Liverpool waterfront. The role they play takes them out in atrocious of conditions in one of the world's most dangerous stretches of water. Often called out in weather that can uproot trees, when temperatures hover close to freezing and where waves are so high that you can't see past them the team makes the river and sea around the Mersey a safer place responding to emergencies that no other emergency service is equipped to deal with and on average are with immersed casualties within 3 minutes. In freezing conditions this fast response is vital as the river can carried a casualty 10 miles out to sea in one hour. Their role doesn't just involve people, but also help deal with pollution incidents, removed hazards to shipping, rescued animals, provide cover for Liverpool Airport and they have even recovered a hot air balloon stranded on a sand bank! Interestingly Andy Fell, the Senior Station Officer, said "There is no pattern to emergencies, they can happen at any time of the day or night, in winter or even in summer so it is paramount that we are available 24 hours a day. In fact one of the most dangerous rescues that we attempt is getting people out of the mud banks and people don't think of river rescue services doing such rescues."

A donation, however small, will help save lives on the River Mersey. To make a donation please call us on (0151) 236 1186 or send a cheque (made payable to Mersey Inshore Rescue) to:- Mersey Inshore Rescue Service, Princes Stage, Pier Head, Liverpool, L3 1DP.


A LUNG disease, which kills twenty times more Britons than asthma each year, is estimated to affect more than 3 million people in the UK.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, otherwise know as emphysema or Chronic bronchitis kills 30,000 British people every year. The news arrived in a major new report called 'Breathing Fear' published at the start of the annual meeting of the European Respiratory Society. 

Based on a survey of members of the British Lung Foundation, it highlights the burden of COPD on patients' lives and the impact on the country as a whole.

'Breathing Fear' reveals that the majority of COPD sufferers fear suffering an acute attack - a sudden worsening of symptoms including extreme breathlessness that can lead to extended hospitalisation.

These attacks can be so bad that 80% of those admitted to hospital with an attack say the experience feels 'worse than death'. The Breathing Fear survey reveals that fear of an attack is so extreme that many sufferers are simply too scared to do what most people take for granted, for example being intimate with a partner, going to the pub and joining in family events like birthdays and weddings.

Donald Heavens, a 72 - year old with COPD from Swindon says, "I used to get out of breath so quickly. It stopped me from doing everything I enjoyed, walking, cycling, doing the garden and playing piano. When I had an attack it was a breathlessness which felt like being continuously strangled."

Dr Tony Crockett (a GP in Wiltshire) said:- "A lung attack is a terrifying experience and can be every bit as dangerous as a heart attack. But most people have never even heard of it. This is very worrying considering COPD is now the fifth biggest killer in Britain, already killing 30,000 British people every year1 and is predicted to keep on growing."

The report comes shortly after the launch of a newly licensed treatment for severe COPD - Seretide (salmeterol propionate / fluticasone) - has been proven to reduce the rate of moderate or severe exacerbations 

Dr Tony Crockett says, "I have witnessed the devastating impact of lung attacks on my patients and their loved ones. But there is growing optimism that we can help ease the suffering of the ever increasing number of people affected by this disease."

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