A SUPPORT group for people in Basingstoke living with the effects of lung conditions has celebrated its first year at an official launch event.

Breathe Easy Basingstoke, a support group for people suffering from conditions as well as their families and carers, is staffed by volunteers and is supported by the British Lung Foundation and respiratory health care professionals.

The group, which has 72 members, offers friendship, support, advice and information as well as a chance to meet people who also suffer with lung conditions at their monthly meetings at the Christ Church, in Reading Road, Chineham.

It celebrated its first year of operation at an official launch event which was attended by Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Dan Putty.

Members and volunteers of the group, staff from the British Lung Foundation, and health care professionals were treated to tea, coffee and cake at the event as well as the opportunity to win prizes, including a weekend stay at The Red Lion Hotel at the Top of The Town. Visitors were also entertained with music from Basingstoke musician Rob Hayes.

Judith Windross, chair of Breathe Easy Basingstoke, said: “The aim of our first year was to get established, and our aim for this year is to reach as many people as we can to let them know we are here.

“We really understand what people are going through, and there is always someone to talk to here. The first year has gone brilliantly and we are always getting new members every time we meet.”

Norman Smith, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is a narrowing of the airways, said the group is a big help.

The 74-year-old grandfather, of Plantation Road, in Sherfield-on-Loddon, who requires liquid oxygen 24 hours a day through a nasal tube, said: “It (the support group) is very good and we have been to every meeting. The speakers we get are brilliant, and it is good to share tips with other sufferers.”