Classes see George get his health back

Health and wellbeing manager Anne Robinson working with George on his fitness.
Health and wellbeing manager Anne Robinson working with George on his fitness.

A Cramlington man is feeling the benefit of classes which have helped him recover from a lung disease.

George Purvis is 63-years-old and used to enjoy his allotment and racing pigeons.

But it was after retiring from the Royal Mail in 2005 following a hernia operation that he noticed he was becoming increasingly out of breath when he was walking or with his pigeons.

Hospital tests showed George had ‘pigeon fanciers lung’, an allergic reaction to pigeon dust.

The disease is an inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs which affects the air exchanging and causes a shortness of breath, reducing the lungs’ ability to move air in and out, and as a result sufferers have repeated chest infections and ultimately struggle to breathe.

George was advised to sell his pigeons to prevent his condition deteriorating, which he regretfully did.

The Newcastle United fan began pulmonary rehabilitation at Wansbeck General Hospital in July last year, and after completing the sessions he was referred to Age UK Northumberland’s community exercise programme for people diagnosed with Chronic Respiratory Disease.

George started attending the sessions in October and the charity’s respiratory instructor assessed him and set realistic goals to help improve his physical activity levels and wellbeing.

He has been attending the sessions for seven months now and his assessment has shown an improvement in the distance he can walk without becoming breathless.

He also has improvement in muscle strength and improvement in wellbeing.

George said: “I really enjoy attending the sessions. The exercises are very beneficial and have improved my physical health.

“The social aspect of the group is equally important and also very enjoyable.”

For more information about the COPD exercise class, contact Anne Robinson on (01670) 784800 or email

The main emphasis of the classes is endurance, strength training and flexibility.

Endurance training is an essential component as it leads to increases in the ability to walk.

Walking can be the main limitations in people who suffer from chronic lung disease.

Strength training is equally important as strength can be reduced especially in the upper leg muscles.