HEALTH messages have been spanning the generations as a pulmonary support group helped young people to love their lungs.

Members of Breathe Easy Darlington have been working with pupils at the town’s Gurney Pease Academy on an initiative designed to raise awareness about chest conditions.

The project culminated in a day of celebration at which Breathe Easy members selected a number of ‘lung artworks’ which will be framed and hung on the walls of Ward 44 at Darlington Memorial Hospital, which specialises in respiratory complaints.

Breathe Easy Darlington has been promoting the benefits of exercise in preventing and combatting the effects of a variety of chest conditions and has funded the very first respiratory fitness trainer in Darlington, Victoria McFaull. She runs BEActive and BEDance classes.

She joined members of the group and of all year groups on the school fields for an afternoon featuring tai chi, dance, skipping, ball relay games, sit-ups, bat and ball games and sack races.

Chair of Breathe Easy Darlington Gaynor Williams said: “This has been a wonderful project and our members have loved it. It is so important to pass on messages about staying healthy and looking after your lungs. Working with Gurney Pease will hopefully help to raise awareness whether on a personal level – smoking – or environmentally – pollution and air quality.

“The whole school took part in the art competition and we had more than 150 pieces to look at. The hardest thing was choosing just six for Ward 44 because the standard was so incredibly high.”

Gurney Pease higher level teaching assistant Linda Cernik added: “Pupils have thrown themselves into the project and produced some amazing work. I think it has really hit home the importance of looking after your health and we are delighted that pupils’ artwork will bring a bit of cheer to patients and visitors on Ward 44.”

Pulmonary rehabilitation has been shown to improve muscle strength so the body can breathe more efficiently. It also helps people cope better with feeling out of breath, improves fitness and raises confidence, boosting mental health.

Patients improve their ability to walk further, feel less tired and breathless doing day-to-day activities. It also reduces the risk of ending up in hospital.

Breathe Easy member Peter Fowler said: “The sessions have really helped me. I think my balance has improved and I feel much more confident. I have had no energy for a while but am gradually feeling better. It is too easy to just sit back but you can’t just give up. It also gets you out and about and socialising. We laugh a lot and have a good deal of fun”.

For more information contact the British Lung Foundation helpline on 03000 030 555 and ask for details on Breathe Easy Darlington or look for it on Facebook.