A MORPETH charity campaigner met a member of the Royal Family for the third time to mark a major anniversary.
John Lowes spoke with the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House during a function to celebrate 25 years of the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS).
The 64-year-old has suffered from the fragile bone disease since he was 27, but has worked tirelessly to support others with it and raise awareness.
He is pleased that osteoporosis is much more in the public eye than when he was diagnosed, but says it is important that as many people as possible know they can take steps to reduce the chances of developing the condition.
“At the time I was diagnosed, people would say that osteoporosis was the best kept secret in the medicinal world,” he said.
“Since then I have had two hip replacements, broken my wrists, ribs, sternum, and fingers and suffered multiple vertebral fractures. I have also lost over a foot in height from 6ft 2ins when I was 27.
“I have been on elbow crutches since my first hip replacement in 1986, following advice from my surgeon who realised that my bones were in such a poor condition.
“I still take a variety of medication in the form of anti-inflammatory and other drugs to help cope with the pain, but I try to keep a positive attitude in my prolonged battle with the condition.
“I felt that raising awareness was an important contribution that I may be able to make. Finding someone to talk with who is able to empathise with the problem can benefit both parties — the person who seeks the knowledge and the person who imparts it.
“Everyone involved with the NOS can be pleased that the disease is a lot more well-known among the public and now we are putting the message across that people, especially young people, can take action to help prevent getting osteoporosis.
“You can build up healthy bones by doing plenty of exercise, having a balanced and healthy diet and getting a decent amount of vitamin D among other measures.”
Mr Lowes, who has received a lot of support from wife Elizabeth and their two children Jane and Jonathan, has helped to raise thousands of pounds for the society over the years, including when he wrote the charity’s appeal letter one Christmas.
He has given presentations at a range of groups and clubs across Northumberland and has spoken at the Royal Society of Medicine, the American Embassy and on BBC Radio Four. For 10 years he was an active member (Treasurer and Secretary) of the now-lapsed Newcastle upon Tyne Support Group.
The Stobhill Grange resident was awarded with an MBE for his charity work in June 1994 and retired from the police force in the October of the same year.
Mr Lowes also spoke to other famous faces, such as Shirley Bassey and Jeremy Paxman, at the Clarence House function.
He met the Duchess of Conrwall, President of the NOS, whose mother suffered from osteoporosis, for the third time that day — one of the previous two was at the opening of the bone density scanning machine at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle.
“The Duchess is a very charming lady and is very passionate about the charity,” he said.
“Hopefully, as well as raising greater awareness with the public, some of the celebrities at the event will make donations to help us support those with the disease.”