Lancaster’s inspiring illuminations

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During Week 6, the local landmark Ashton Memorial will be illuminated in purple to raise awareness and show support for the Stroke Association.

An annual awareness month is being held by the Stroke Association to “Make May Purple”, where communities, families and friends whose loved ones were affected by stroke aid in raising awareness as well as essential funds for the Stroke Association. To kick-off the month Blackpool Tower was floodlit purple and the Association was joined by actor and performer Les Dennis.

The North West faction of the association have this month been endorsing the hashtag #CarryBarry where ‘Barry the Baton’ has been travelling across the stroke awareness events up and down the North West. Locations visited so far have included Liverpool, the Isle of Man, Blackpool and Ellesmere Port.

Chief Executive at the Stroke Association, Jon Barrick, said that raising awareness of stroke is important because “Stroke is an incredibly cruel condition.”

He continued saying that “It can strike in an instant, and its effects can last a lifetime.  Make May Purple is a unique opportunity for people throughout the UK to come together and show their support for everyone who has been affected by stroke. The vital funds we raise will help us conquer stroke.”

Throughout the month of May, Ashton Memorial has been lit up in the name of several different causes. On May Bank Holiday, during Week 3, the Williamson Park centre-piece turned green to celebrate the 50th birthday of St. John’s Hospice. A fundraising event ‘Green Ayre Rises’ for St. John’s Hospice was held at Lancaster Library to commemorate Green Ayre railway line closing 50 years previously. The focus of this event was a model railway layout of the ‘lost’ station.

This was followed by being floodlit yellow in support of cystic fibrosis during Week 4. The next evening the local landmark turned the multi-coloured purple, blue and green in aid of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Throughout Dementia Awareness Week in Week 5, the Memorial was relit yellow with a sliver of silver, the added silver was in appreciation of The Silver Line. The Silver Line is a free helpline for older people that provides advice, answers any questions they may have or acts as a source of friendship.

While Lancaster University and LUSU have not organised any awareness events in conjunction with the Illuminations, VP Welfare & Community, Anna Lee, told SCAN that the student-led group LUSU Gives (the Raise and Give Charity division of LUSU) has fundraised “an enormous amount for charity and [features] several student groups devoted to specific charities” and that while “The Stroke Association, Cystic Fibrosis and Dementia Awareness are very worthy causes” due to the great number of awareness days, weeks and months it is not possible for LUSU to “cover them all centrally when [their] top priority is serving the needs of students here at Lancaster.”

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