Call the Midwife star, Jenny Agutter, has helped to launch a website for arthritis sufferers in Cornwall.
The actress, famed for her roles in the Railway Children and Logan’s Run, looked radiant as she cut the ribbon to the Cornwall’s first official arthritis website in the Knowledge Spa at Truro’s Royal Cornwall Hospital today.
The site, which was created in partnership with Cornwall Arthritis Trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospital, aims to provide a reliable place for people suffering from the debilitating disease to find information and advice about local services.
Patients are able to chat with other sufferers and research subjects including clinic services, how to manage arthritis, where to get financial advice, leisure and travel precautions and link to recommended sites.
For Agutter arthritis is disorder close to her heart.
Before her death, the actresses mother, Catherine, lived with for Rheumatioid Arthritis for 26 years and received treatment at The Royal Cornwall Hospital.
Agutter said: “I think a website like this would have helped her.
“When my mother was alive we found it so difficult to find everyday things such as tin openers, chairs, pillows or clothes which she could use with the least possible pain.
“This website will collect all the information in once place and this why it is going to be such a useful tool to people with Rheumatioid Arthritis and associated arthritic conditions.”
The actress said that she hopes this website will help improve the quality of life and the independence of people living with the disease in Cornwall.
“The Cornwall Arthritis Trust website will be a wonderful and much needed tool enabling those with rheumatoid arthritis to feel less isolated and give them the help they need to manage their condition on a day to day basis.
“The website will not only benefit people with the condition, but their careers too,” said Agutter.
In a recent survey nearly one in five people aged 55 to 64 in Cornwall reported having arthritis or a long-term joint problem, rising to 1 in 3 for people in older age groups. Nearly half of those aged 85 or older had arthritis.
Jo Erwin, research associate at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, said: "Enabling people to easily access reliable information is key.
“This initiative grew out of a consultation that was held with people living with rheumatoid arthritis in Cornwall.
“One of the key themes that emerged was the need for reliable information. People using the internet found it difficult to find appropriate sites and often inadvertently accessed sites with inaccurate and alarming information.''
The website can be found at www.cornwallarthritis.org.uk and is live from today.