Speaker for 20th November 2018

President Des Moore greets Valerie Saunders, with club member Des Johnston (L) 100th Birthday 'Boy', Norman Irwin (R)

Probus celebrate a 100th birthday and take a message to heart

Coleraine Probus met a little early at the Golf Club to celebrate a very special occasion, the 100th birthday of member, Norman Irwin. Tea or coffee supplemented with birthday cake was enjoyed by all. This was followed by an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday" and "For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” - and so say all of the members, who wished they could as fit at 80, as Norman is, two score years more!

The speaker for the meeting was Valerie Saunders, the community fund-raiser for “The N.I. Chest, Heart and Stroke Group”. Valerie has been working for the charity for almost 30 years, and clearly recognises the importance of getting her message across to everyone in the community, as the group charity is mostly funded by public subscription.

Valerie emphasised that very pound raised in Northern Ireland stays in Northern Ireland. Living with a chest, heart or stroke illness can often present many challenges for that person as well as their families. N.I. CHS has a range of support services designed to provide practical help and guidance for the patient and their family. These include, Stroke Family Support Service, Stroke Scheme, Respiratory Group, Taking Control Self Management Programme, Post Rehab Exercise Programme (PREP) and Pop Up Clinics for the general public.

The Charity also offers a Schools Resource Pack; Business and Community Health Checks and health talks. Valerie stressed the importance of regular eye tests which can predict heart and other diseases. The N.I. CHS also lobby Government Departments with the introduction of “Sugar Tax" a particular victory.

But why does the charity exist? Is there really a need for all the support work and fundraising? Valerie had all the answers to these doubts, and gave the members a breakdown of some health statistics about chest, heart and stroke conditions.

Around 37% of all adult deaths in N.I. are caused by chest, heart or stroke conditions. Last year in N.I. there were 5,925 deaths were due to these conditions, which is 16 deaths every day. Currently there are 335,106 people in Northern Ireland are living with these conditions, which is 18% of the population.

Lets look at the numbers in more detail:


Currently in NI there are 40,955 people living with COPD (2% of the population)
122,178 people living in NI are living with asthma (7% of the population)
In 2017, diseases of the respiratory system accounted for 13% of all deaths (1,973)– note this figure excludes lung cancer and asthma
In 2017, 6% (1005) of deaths registered in Northern Ireland were due to COPD. This accounts for 47% of all respiratory deaths


The number of people currently living in NI (2017/18) with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is 73,835 (4% of the population)
In 2017/18, 6,062 people in Northern Ireland presented to hospital with a heart attack, which is almost 17 people per day.
The number of people currently living in NI (2017/18) with heart failure is 17,402 (1% of the population)
In 2017, 24% of all deaths (3,780) were caused by diseases of the circulatory system. Of that number, 1691 were attributed to coronary heart disease and 988 to stroke. Included in the coronary heart disease figure are 1,034 who died of a heart attack.


The number of people currently living in NI with stroke and TIA is 37,119 (2% of the population)
In 2017/18, 4,060 people were presented to hospital in Northern Ireland with a primary diagnosis of stroke – 11 per day.
The number of people in Northern Ireland living with Atrial Fibrillation (AF), which increases the risk of stroke, is 37,325 (2% of the population)
In 2017, 1022 people died following a stroke, which equates to almost 3 people each day

The numbers came as quite a shock to members, but these underlined just how important it was to support the work of the N.I. CHS charity, so much so, it was decided that this would be the Presidents chosen charity for the year. Well-done Probus members in taking up this valuable support challenge!

To find out a whole lot more about the N.I. CHS group charity - especially at Christmas time, just 'Click' the Santa Logo below (this will open in a new window).