MEMBERS of a club which has brought hope, relief and pleasure to many people with chronic lung conditions have celebrated its fifth anniversary.

Backed by the British Lung Foundation and attended by specialist respiratory nurses the Breathe Easy Darlington group is one of a network across the region and has about 30 members.

James Edwards, 59, from Middleton One Row, Darlington, who helped to organise the first meeting, said: “The meetings have been good for me and good for our members. It is very rewarding when you see the mixture of exercise and socialising improving people’s conditions.”

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Mr Edwards, who has severe asthma and a number of other serious lung conditions, said as well as running exercise sessions every week the group holds monthly meetings where expert speakers talk about the latest news about chest complaints.

Lesley Earnshaw, 64, from Darlington, who underwent a double lung transplant to cure her pulmonary fibrosis 15 years ago, said: “The Breath Easy Meetings are brilliant.There was nothing like this when I was ill.”

Lorraine Hudson, an NHS specialist respiratory nurse who works in the community in Darlington, said: “Chronic lung conditions affect people’s lives in different ways.They cause social isolation and change relationships. These meetings really help to address the social isolation. It can be quite empowering.”

The Breathe Easy Darlington meetings are held on the third Wednesday of very month at 1.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Skinnergate, Darlington.