A PENSIONER with arthritis is hoping to raise more awareness of the debilitating condition.
Sheila Skilleter, of Birkby, began to suffer the symptoms of arthritis more than 30 years ago.
Now aged 72, Mrs Skilleter is the secretary of the Huddersfield Arthritis Care Midway Support Group and says that often making a cup of tea can lead to exhaustion.
She is aiming to raise awareness of the condition during Arthritis Care Awareness Week and hopes people will understand more about the debilitating illness.
And she highlighted a problem of disabled parking as a major problem, citing the recent changes to the Sainsbury’s Shorehead car park as a worry for disabled people.
However, the supermarket say the changes are only temporary.
Mrs Skilleter said: “Arthritis is a horrendous thing to have. People think it happens with old age, but often that is far from the case.
“It is a debilitating condition and even making a cup of tea and some toast can leave me exhausted.”
She began to experience symptoms of arthritis before her son was born – more than 37 years ago.
Now aged 72, Mrs Skilleter says that last week she found that the walk from through the re-developed car park at Sainsbury’s a stretch.
Instead of running in front of the superstore, the disabled parking bays now run away from the store.
“Why on earth have Sainsbury’s moved the disabled parking bays from just outside the door?” she asked.
“There needs to be some thought given to this.”
It is not known how many people in Kirklees have arthritis – but with more than 760,000 Yorkshire people with the condition she believes it will affect many people.
“The more awareness there is of arthritis the better everyone will understand,” she added at the start of Arthritis Care Awareness Week.
“We are only scratching the surface – people can feel very isolated through it.
“The most common is osteoarthritis but there are so many different types and it can affect children too.”
James Gent, from Sainsbury’s, said: “The current disabled car parking arrangement is an interim measure lasting three weeks only, by which time the finalised parking configuration will be in place, ready for the new store opening on May 20.
“The new car park will provide more free-access disabled bays. In the meantime, we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to our shoppers using the disabled parking bays.”
Arthritis affects 8m people.
There are about 200 types of it.
Osteoarthritis is the common wear and tear arthritis linked with old age.
Symptoms can affect the whole body and include stiffness, pain and restricted movements of the joints.
Visit www.arthritiscare.org.uk for more information.
The Huddersfield Arthritis Care Midway Support Group meets on the last Monday of every month, the next meeting is April 27, at the BMI Nuffield Hospital on Birkby Hall Road from 7pm. Everyone is welcome to join.