Supporting each other to breathe more easily

Being able to breathe easily is something most of us take for granted.

Breathing is something we do without thinking.

But for people with lung disease, taking a breath can be hard work.

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It’s something the members of Gainsborough’s Breathe Easy group are painfully aware of.

They all suffer from some sort of lung disease and get together to help and support each other.

Chairman Collin Fletcher, 58, who has emphysema and work-related asthma, said: “I worked as an electrical engineer all over the country, putting in long hours.”

“My airways were damaged by chemicals at work and that was it, within a fortnight I went from working a 60-80 hour week to collapsing on the side of the road.”

“I went into a massive depression and getting involved with Breathe Easy has been a great help to me.”

Collin, who lives in Scunthorpe, first joined Lincoln Breathe Easy, but recognised the need for a Gainsborough group and helped to set it up.

Other founder members were Ruth Harper, of Blyton, who is secretary, and Mick Ward, 64, of Gordon Street, Gainsborough, who is treasurer.

Mick’s wife Carol, 65, was also an active member until she passed away in January.

Ruth said: “Mick and I met when we were doing the pulmonary rehab course at John Coupland Hospital.”

“It’s an eight-week course with physiotherapists who teach you exercises to improve your lungs, and teach you how not to panic when you get breathless.”

“They also have speakers in to talk about how the lungs work and what medication does to help.”

“There are now one in five people in the UK with lung disease.”

Ruth , who has asthma and emphysema, worked as a PA and a college lecturer.

“I didn’t like retirement, I like to be busy so Breathe Easy has really helped me.”