A PARALYMPIAN who suffers from arthritis has urged residents to seek help for managing the condition, which she says is ‘not a life sentence’.

Leigh Walmsley, from Woolston, developed osteoarthritis after a cycling accident aged 11 and then began to notice the first signs of inflammatory arthritis in her mid-20s.

But in spite of the condition, she managed to represent Team GB as an archer at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

To mark World Arthritis Day - which takes place today, Friday - she has encouraged residents to join the Warrington Arthritis Action support group, which meets in Orford.

Leigh said: “Everyone knows someone with arthritis - be it a co-worker, family member or a neighbour.

“While the numbers of people living with arthritis and struggling with the effects are increasing, there is much that people can do to help themselves.

“It is not a life sentence.

“Arthritis Action’s groups are a great way to access useful information to make living with arthritis easier, discover what service are available locally and - most importantly - connect with others in the community.

“This can help reduce isolation, which is a very common feeling when you have arthritis.”

A report released by Arthritis Action to mark the awareness day found that the 10 million people living with the condition in the UK have ‘significantly lower levels of life satisfaction’ that the average person.

Scores in this regard were particularly low in young and unemployed people, with one in five people surveyed saying they had had to give up work because of arthritis.

The next Arthritis Action group meeting takes place at Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, November 3.