Eric Ollerenshaw column

Eric Ollerenshaw.
Eric Ollerenshaw.

Last week I was delighted to welcome Helen Grant MP, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, to Lancaster to show her one of our ‘fitness’ venues as well as our great attraction – Lancaster Castle.

I must admit, although I used to be a regular gym goer, having once again visited the 3-1-5 Health Club, I still couldn’t help being amazed by the advances in the equipment used - especially their X-Force machines.

It was also great for both Helen and myself to hear from local people about the benefits they have experienced from taking regular suitable exercise, in particular members of the Headway Group (a self-support group for people who have suffered a brain injury) who work out at 3-1-5.

I also had the opportunity of paying a visit to one of our small village schools, that being Wray with Botton Endowed Primary School to meet with their Head, Ms Norton and Chairman of Governors Mr Lawrenson as well as get a tour and have a chat with staff and pupils.

As a former secondary school teacher, I always feel admiration for our primary school staff, especially in small schools such as this and appreciate the hard work that they do ensuring our children get the best possible start in life.

There is no doubt that pupils in small village schools like Wray are being taught to the highest standards, while experiencing a totally balanced curriculum.

Finally in what has been a rather tense few days waiting for the result of the NHS England’s decision whether to continue to fund Abraxane I am pleased that the outcome has been that this drug will remain, for the time being, on the Cancer Drugs Fund list.

Together with Pancreatic Cancer UK, I have been arguing that Abraxane should remain on the list as this is the first new treatment for pancreatic cancer in twenty years and has been shown to extend life by up to two months.

This may not seem a great deal, but can I assure you that in terms of average life expectancy from diagnosis, of this virulent form of cancer, this could translate into a nearly doubling of the time left to live.