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Gillian McCarthy Winter Den Appeal

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by mermaid, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    I have been writing to Gillian for a year now. She suffers from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and ME and lives through necessity, and lack of proper provision, in an unheated and leaking wooden hut in Somerset.

    Some of her friends realised that her life would be in danger if she was not able to access somewhere warmer very quickly, as her health condition has weakened over the 17 years she has lived there.

    Tony Wrench and a small team of helpers have generously offered their time and experience to build Gillian a small roundhouse/pod which will be a warm dry shelter in the hopes that something better can follow in time.

    Here are some links so you can read and see the project or see Gillian speak about her situation.
    http://www.permaculture.co.uk/news/2711122573/building-low-impact-den-multiple-chemical-sensitivity
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8-UOdoFsi8 (shows the work so far)

    Please consider helping in various ways:
    1. Donating even a small amount to help with this wonderful project. Below are the 2 ways you can donate at present. Funds are beginning to come in, but we do need more.
    2. Sharing this email with friends and family to spread the word.
    3. Informing yourself about MCS, a poorly understood illness. (As someone who has ‘just’ ME/CFS which also suffers from ill-informed publicity I feel for someone who has this extra dimension).

    Helen Deeming
    Coventry Building Society
    40-63-01
    Acc No 59239807
    ref Gillian McCarthy
    (this way would be suitable for a bank transfer)

    Gillian McCarthy Rescue Fund c/o The Treasurer, 10 Innox Hill, Frome, Somerset BA11 2LW
    (can be used for cheques)
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  2. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    The article in that link says:


    As a student Gillian worked on sheep dips and organophosphates. All her fellow researchers are now dead. (I can hardly believe this as I write it). Now she is an extreme sufferer from MCS - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - a condition that imprisons sufferers in their own homes, unable to use cars, mechanised transport, mobiles, mains electricity, gas, wood, or oil.

    Gillian lives in a shack supplied for her as a temporary measure by her local council seventeen years ago. She sleeps in a chair with several layers on. Her shack leaks, is not insulated and is not heated. It is a miracle she has survived this long, and the tangled web of bureaucratic procrastination could be the subject of fiction.

    Wow...
  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Organophosphates are quite well known by many of the top ME/CFS specialists as being strongly involved in some cases of ME/CFS and seeming to trigger. (beware things like Roundup). We all should be taking care of these as if you have ME/CFS, you are at a high risk of getting MCS.

    MCS certainly does add a horrific new dimension to the whole illness.

    Thanks for the update of the Gillian situation.
  4. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Thanks Mermaid for letting us know about the campaign to help Gillian. This is a real grassroots, environmental group of helpers and volunteers who are giving up their time to build Gillian this new dry, warm, Den. I do hope they are able to raise the funds necessary.

    I had a couple of telephone coversations with Gillian over a year ago and her health was very precarious then - i can't see how she will survive another freezing winter in the conditions she currently lives in. Her story about working with sheep dip chemicals - especially as a student are horrific in their detail. No protective equipment was given and they were literally drenched in it for days or weeks at a time.

    All the best, Justy x
  5. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Just wrote out a cheque - I don't usually donate to individuals because my focus is on what will help us all, but, flippin' 'eck... what an unbelievably awful situation. Good for those guys building that pod.
    justinreilly, taniaaust1 and justy like this.
  6. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    Thank you everyone for your comments, and bless you Sasha for your contribution.

    I have just found out that a 3rd option has now been set up for giving, as easier for some people......

    If you have a Paypal account you can use it to make a personal donation to gilliansden@gmail.com.
    There may be a small charge for payments from overseas or from credit/debit card.

    I haven't posted the link on this thread but I helped to organise an interview with Gillian on her local ITV Westcountry news just before this project was launched. I have just contacted them again in the hope that they will return at the end of this week and be able to record the progress made. I will update if this happens, and hopefully we can get a recording to it put online.
    taniaaust1 and Sasha like this.
  7. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I've sprayed a lot of that stuff. Frankly, I thought it was great. It is a lot more effective at getting rid of Johnson grass that a hoe. I didn't expect it to try to get rid of me.

    I see that Gillian McCarthy was a dressage judge. I am very aware that plenty of middle class people do low level dressage, since I was once one of them, but there are quite a few moneyed people in dressage as well. Why are her former friends and associates not helping out in the appalling situation? This sound like something the BBC and maybe Horse and Hound should be aware of.

    Here are a couple more links with information about Gillian. What she has accomplished despite her health problems is astonishing. I cannot help but wonder what she would have done if she had been unimpaired. Such a loss to the world!
    http://www.mcs-international.org/about_us/meet_the_team/uk/gillian_mccarthy.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2008/jan/05/weekend7.weekend3
    Sasha likes this.
  8. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    I saw that interview. That photo of her leg after a reaction to something was jaw-dropping.

    If they interview her again, I think it would be great if she could say that all the other people with the same exposure are now dead (and if the TV people left it in - I don't know if it's previously been cut). I think people need to understand that she's survived a terrible thing and this is the ongoing aftermath.
  9. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    Thank you for posting those other links Little Bluestem.
    Yes, as you say, there are people who might be able to help Gillian from her past involvement in the horse world. I think that some of them already have maybe in the past, but I only came on the scene around a year ago, and I am unsure of who exactly has helped and when. It's been such a long saga, sadly.

    However we are following up some of the contacts still from Gillian's past, and one certainly is from the this area of work.
    justinreilly and Little Bluestem like this.
  10. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    Thank you Sasha.Yes, that might be possible. As you say, it's difficult with the TV people as I know the interview was far longer than what was shown.
    The link to the previous interview is Vimeo.com/54036656
  11. Sasha

    Sasha Fine, thank you

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    Thanks, mermaid, I'll take a look at that.

    I think that with MCS as well as ME, it's so far outside of people's normal experience that it's easier for many to think of Gillian's situation as 'all in her head' and so they need these proofs - everyone else dead - to see the truth of her situation.
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  12. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    ITV Westcountry news are coming back to film this week on Thursday - primarily to see the progress with the building of the den. I am guessing it will get shown either that day or the next.
  13. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Thanks for all you are doing too to help her.
  14. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    Thank you Tania. Unfortunately due to potential flooding in Somerset the filming has had to be postponed, but the editor is keen to come again after Christmas. I will let people know when this happens.
  15. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    Just to update here that ITV filmed this morning and the item will be shown tonight at 6pm on the WestCountry news so won't be able to be accessed by all.

    If I can save the film that they should put on their website later I will post it on here if I am able to.

    It will be good to see how far the building has come.
    taniaaust1, justy and Sasha like this.
  16. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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  17. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Fantastic.
    The council probably are stupid enough to try and take action regarding planning permission, so we'll have to keep an eye on that one.
    Sasha likes this.
  18. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    Well the council have tried in the past to evict her, but actually backed down on the day (this was several years ago now).

    I think it's unlikely that they will do anything this time because the Planning people have already visited the site and discussed the issue with the builders right at the outset. My view is that if they were going to do anything detrimental then they would have already done it.
  19. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi Mermaid, thank you so much for keeping us updated on the progress of the new shelter.I hope she can physically get in it before the planning officers try to evict her - once she is in it will be harder to get her out. I do hope it will be a big improvement - warm and dry at least, although it looks a little small perhaps? Not a criticism of all the hard work the volunteers and Tony Wrench have put in - i know there are financial and time constraints. I do hope this could move forward the discussion on providing her with proper, suitable housing - and others like her.

    Take care, Justy x
  20. mermaid

    mermaid Senior Member

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    Yes it's limited size, but then originally it was going to be even more basic, so the scheme did evolve as time went on. I think it has to be limited to have a hope of getting over the planning issues actually. If it was any bigger then this would definitely be a stumbling block. As it is, hopefully they won't make too many waves.

    It may be that they would demolish part of the huts that she has currently so that there would not be more buildings there, but I don't know the thinking on that currently. I suspect that they will have discussions again with the planning people near the end of the build.

    And yes, she still needs to have proper housing, with proper support.

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