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Local campaigner celebrates as council backs Motor Neurone Charter

WILTSHIRE Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have both signed the motor neurone disease (MND) charter following a campaign by local man John Howell.

John, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2014, is a campaigner for the Motor Neurone Association. After hearing about the MND Charter which was being signed by councils across the UK, he approached councillor Jon Hubbard about getting Wiltshire Council to sign it.

The MND Charter was launched by the Motor Neurone Disease Association to raise awareness and to help improve services for people with MND and their carers in their community. By signing the MND Charter, Wiltshire Council and the CCG show its support of local people living in the community with motor neurone disease and their carers.

Cllr Jon Hubbard said, “After John explained to me what the charter is and looking into what other councils are doing, I spoke to cabinet member councillor Jerry Wickham and we agreed that we should not only sign the charter but take positive steps to make it meaningful.

“A lot of hard work has gone into this by both Wiltshire Council and the CCG. It’s a fantastic result and I’m very pleased to be part of it. But none of this would have happened without John.”

John Howell said, “This is most certainly a step in the right direction and I’m happy to see both Wiltshire Council and the CCG signing the charter. I hope this will help not only those living with MND, but everyone who is disabled in the town.

“I believe that disabled people are treated as second-class citizens and Britain hasn’t grown up to the fact that disabled people have the right to be treated as individuals and with dignity and respect. Hopefully this charter will see some significant changes and improvements in the community.

“Living with MND is incredible difficult and it’s easier to lock yourself away from the world, but luckily I have a very positive and supportive family. Being a MND campaigner has also helped give me confidence, knowing that I’m helping other people gives me a purpose and a focus.”

Alison Aviss, chair of the MND Association, said, “We are delighted that Wiltshire Council and the CCG have demonstrated their joint support for the MND Charter in our area. By forming partnerships such as these, we will help councils and the CCG to raise awareness of MND and the challenges those affected face.

“Since being diagnosed with MND in 2014, John Howell has campaigned to raise awareness of MND. We thank his local councillor, Jon Hubbard, for his support to John and his wife Sally, and for helping achieve the joint signing.”

MND is a fatal, rapidly progressing disease that can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. Of those diagnosed, a third will die within a year and more than half will die within two years. There is no cure for MND.