Brechin Probus learn about leprosy and aids

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Brechin Probus Club met in the Northern Hotel on October 1, with Bob Berry in the chair and James Hawke deputising for secretary Frank Scott.

In opening the meeting the chairman congratulated Alec Proctor who celebrated his 92nd birthday on October 2. Bob then went on to ask the membership to consider changing the starting time of future meetings from 10 to 10.15 a.m., however on a show of hands the members agreed to keep the 10 a.m. start.

The members were then asked to submit suggestions of possible places to visit for next year’s summer outing and present these at the next Probus club meeting. The chairman pointed out that the Christmas lunch will be held in the same venue on Tuesday,December 10.

The business concluded, Bob introduced Eleanor Butters, the speaker for the day, who spoke on both leprosy and aids.

In her opening remarks, Eleanor described herself as the “kept woman of a retired minister”, however, she went on to say that she had, in her earlier years, been a member of the teaching profession.

Eleanor said that she first became interested in leprosy while assisting with day to day collections on behalf of that charity.

This ultimately led to her going with a holiday group to observe and assist leprosy sufferers in India. She went on to recount an amusing story of one of her hotel experiences there.

In her talk about leprosy, Eleanor drew attention to the misconceptions that surround the disease, and, that contrary to widespread opinion, it does not spread rapidly. It was, she said, one of the earliest document illnesses.

The illness is prevalent among the poorest members of society and interestingly she reminded her audience of the incidences of the disease recorded in Scotland. Its causes are attributed to poor diet, poor health and living conditions.

It develops in cold rather than warm places in the body, and attacks extremities like fingers, nose and ears.

However, Eleanor highlighted that once diagnosed, its effects are quickly counteracted by medication. There are approximately 738,000 suffers world wide, 70 per cent of which are located in India.

She then spent time talking about aids and recounted an instance of how the disease had affected a young pregnant woman. However, modern medicines are having an effect in containing the disease.

Following numerous questions, Charlie Simpson in his vote of thanks, thanked Eleanor for delivering an interesting insight into both leprosy and aids.