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Local health charity Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke celebrates its 75th anniversary today Monday 14 June and Newry, Mourne and Down Council is proud to support this landmark occasion by lighting up civic buildings in red (NICHS’s signature colour) this evening.

First established in 1946, the charity was formed by 16 visionary volunteers as the first NI branch of the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis.  After successfully lobbying for improved public health measures to combat the spread of TB, the charity adapted and evolved, changing its focus to concentrate on all diseases of the chest and heart in 1959, and further expanding to include stroke in 1976.

Newry Town Hall will be lit up red tonight to mark the 75th Anniversary of NI Chest Heart & Stroke. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Newry Town Hall will be lit up red tonight to mark the 75th Anniversary of NI Chest Heart & Stroke. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Today, 75 years on, the charity continues to care for and support local people living with chest, heart and stroke illness across Northern Ireland. 

Declan Cunnane, CEO of NICHS, says, “We are so grateful for the support of the Council on this momentous occasion. Over the last 75 years, we have worked continuously and tirelessly to care for members of the Newry, Mourne and Down community and we have no intention of slowing down now!”

“We were founded as a reaction to the Tuberculosis public health crisis three quarters of a century ago, and today we battle another respiratory pandemic - COVID-19.”

Over the last 18 months, and in reaction to the pandemic, the charity has adapted its rehabilitation programmes and care groups to a virtual platform, conducted online health checks and designed webinars for schools and community groups, set up a one-of-its-kind COVID recovery service to support sufferers of long COVID, and has made over 32,000 support calls to clients.

Declan Cunnane says, “People don’t realise but almost 90% of our services are funded directly by public donations. So, to be frank, we couldn’t have done any of this without the ongoing generosity of the Newry, Mourne and Down community. On behalf of our service users and our staff, I wish to sincerely thank you.”

To find out more about the history of NICHS or ways to support NICHS, visit WWW.NICHS.ORG.UK

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