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ME sufferers at Claydon House

PUBLISHED: 15:49 30 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:55 23 March 2015

The Association of Young people with ME will attend Florence Nightingale's birthday celebrations at Claydon House ahead of ME Awareness Week

Visitors to Claydon House, Buckinghamshire, will celebrate Florence Nightingale’s birthday in a different way this 10-11 May.

On the birthday weekend of the founder of modern nursing, the house will feature a special, live exhibition focussing on the medical practices she championed, as well as the condition which affected her life.

The weekend marks the start of national ME Awareness Week, a week when sufferers and campaigners shine a spotlight on the chronic, fluctuating condition, which can cause exhaustion and crippling pain. Florence Nightingale is widely believed to have suffered from ME (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome) after it developed from an infectious disease caught during her service in the Crimean war. Despite her severe disability, she went on to reform both public health and health care, helping to bring medicine and treatment options into the Twentieth Century.

To raise awareness of ME/CFS and the support available to modern-day sufferers, Milton Keynes-based charity, the Association of Young People with ME (AYME) will be at Claydon House throughout the weekend.

Katie Phillips, house manager at Claydon House, says: “Of course we all know Florence for the wonders she made to the medical world, but few people know about the poor health she herself had to battle with. It’s wonderful not only to educate our visitors about a relatively unknown aspect of Florence’s life, but also touch the lives of other people who suffer from ME/CFS like she is believed to have done.”

Claydon House was owned by Sir Harry Verney, the wife of Florence Nightingale’s sister, Parthenope. Sir Harry gave Florence a number of rooms at Claydon to develop her numerous books on nursing and to meet important people. She spent many years at there, particularly in the summer.

“We are delighted to be welcomed to Claydon House this ME Awareness Week, and look forward to being there immensely,” comments chief executive of AYME, Mary-Jane Willows.

“There is always a lot to learn from the past in terms of how conditions such as ME/CFS were perceived and treated, but it’s always surprising to realise the illness remains almost as unheard of and misunderstood nowadays as it was back then. ME/CFS affects over 250,000 people in the UK today, making ME Awareness Week the most important time in our calendar to spread the word about the support available.”

Florence Nightingale’s birthday celebrations will take place 11am to 4pm on 10 and 11 May.

For more information about Claydon House, opening times and directions, visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/claydon
To find out more about AYME and the support it offers to young people with ME/CFS, visit www.ayme.org.uk.

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