Denise Welch to visit Shrewsbury for county charity's third birthday party

Hundreds of purple balloons, representing thousands of families helped by a Shropshire charity, will rise into the air to mark the organisation’s third birthday next week.

PANDAS (Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support) will welcome patron Denise Welch to release the balloons from the Mereside Community Centre in Shrewsbury on Monday (August 18th).

Denise has suffered years of depression sparked by a post-natal illness after giving birth to her son and offered to be a PANDAS patron after speaking to founder Rachael Dobson about her illness.

Rachael, who lives in Shrewsbury with husband and co-founder Stuart, said she will be delighted to welcome Denise to mark the charity’s third birthday.

She said: “PANDAS is a national charity supporting those suffering with pre and postnatal illnesses and to have Denise as a patron, someone who has spoken out about her illness and helped and supported others, is fantastic.

“All are welcome to the birthday party on Monday from 1pm to 3pm and we have champagne, cake and nibbles for everyone.

“We want to mark three years of helping individuals and their families with one of the hardest battles they will face and many of those we have helped will be there to celebrate with us.

“We have helped over 8,500 families and there will be 1,700 balloons released, one for every five families. The rising of the balloons into the sky will mark the people who have risen out of depression and come to us for help.”

PANDAS run a helpline 365 days a year, support groups and an online community. The charity has received only £500 of funding since its launch in August 2011 and the helpline alone costs £20 an hour to run.

“We are so pleased to have reached three years with PANDAS,” added Rachael. “Funding is always the toughest thing for charities but the people we help give everything they have to fight their battles and we have to be there for them so we give everything we have to our fundraising.”

Rachael founded PANDAS after suffering post-natal depression after the birth of son Andreas and continued working for the charity while suffering pre and post-natal depression with daughter Alexis.

The charity is run by dozens of volunteers, the majority of which are suffering or have suffered from post-natal depression or associated illnesses.

For more information about PANDAS or to donate visit www.pandasfoundation.org.uk To register for the birthday party, which is supported by Tesco Extra in Shrewbsury, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pandas-balloons-and-bubbles-birthday-party-tickets-12511402943

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Pete White Pete White

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