Ab Fab star urges Suffolk to care

ICONIC actress Joanna Lumley brought a touch of film star glamour to Suffolk today in support of a cause close to her heart.

Will Clarke

ICONIC actress Joanna Lumley brought a touch of film star glamour to Suffolk today in support of a cause close to her heart.

Miss Lumley agreed to be the patron for Suffolk Family Carers 20th Anniversary Appeal after learning about the growing importance of carers in society.

And the popular actress caused a stir when she attended an anniversary celebration at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds to boost the charity's profile.


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After the service the star, who is best known for her generation-defining roles in Absolutely Fabulous and the New Avengers, chatted to carers, volunteers and fans eager to snatch a few minutes with her.

Miss Lumley, who was recruited by Jacqui Martin, the charity's chief executive, said: “I can't imagine why they've asked me to come. All I can bring is my heart, my admiration and my support.

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“When I was asked to become patron of Suffolk Family Carers I was shocked. I don't have any real strong connection with Suffolk - apart from a few family holidays here - my connection is with the carers.

“I think they are the most wonderful people in the world - they are fantastic. It is a duty - in fact it is hardly worth being a person if you are not a carer - it is something we should all aim to be.

“And even if we are not carers at the moment we should take time to help out those who are because there is nothing more exhausting than not being let off the hook. No matter how much you dearly love the person everyone needs time off.

“I don't think there is anybody who hasn't been a carer at some stage whether it's a new baby and you're on duty every two hours or whether it's an aging parent and you have someone who is quite sick.

“Most of us have some sense of caring and it is just a question of dragging that responsibility closer to us so we aren't saying thank goodness that's not me, but instead saying, how can I be involved?”

Ms Martin paid tribute to Miss Lumley's efforts in boosting the Ipswich-based charity's profile: “Joanna has really helped us. She is such a wonderful person and she has really pushed us up a notch - sometimes from a distance and sometimes by working very closely with us.

“We never could have reached the profile we have without her - it is priceless.”

The charity's appeal to raise cash to help carers comes as a £255 million package was announced today by the government to give carers the breaks they need.

And Ms Martin welcomed the move but stressed the importance of listening to families to find the best ways of spending the extra money.

“Different families have different needs so we need to think carefully about how this money is spent and listen to families and ask what they want,” she said.

The money has been earmarked to be spent over a 10-year period, mainly to provide respite cover for full time carers and look after their welfare.

Visit the Suffolk Family Carers websiteVisit the Suffolk Family Carers websiteVisit the Suffolk Family Carers website

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