Poole’s distinctive Twin Sails Bridge is being illuminated purple this month, to remember those who have lost their lives to pancreatic cancer and raise awareness of the disease.
The bridge, which links Poole with Hamworthy, is being lit up alongside the likes of Belfast City Hall and The Guildhall in Cambridge on World Pancreatic Cancer Day (16 November) and throughout the month to mark the Purple Lights for Pancreatic Cancer initiative.
The annual, nationwide campaign takes place during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council is aiming to raise awareness of the disease locally and encourage people who may have early signs or symptoms to speak to their doctor.
This is the third year the landmark has been illuminated to raise awareness around this campaign.
Public awareness about the disease is extremely low, with over half of people asked knowing very little, if anything at all, about the dangers and effects, according to statistics from the charity, Pancreatic Cancer Action.
Sadly, less than 7% of people with pancreatic cancer will survive beyond five years in the UK.
In Dorset, latest figures show there were 199 reported cases in the county, with 168 deaths during a one-year period, and just 29% of people diagnosed living beyond a single year.
Indigestion, stomach or back pain, unexplained weight loss and jaundice are some of the symptoms commonly linked with pancreatic cancer.
Cllr Andy Hadley, Portfolio Holder for Climate Response, Environment and Energy at BCP Council, said:
“We’re proud to be supporting such a worthy cause and pleased to be a part of a powerful national campaign.
“The act of lighting up the Twin Sails Bridge gives us the opportunity to remember those that have sadly lost their lives to this disease, as well as the enduring stresses their friends and families go through and pay tribute to those who are facing their respective ongoing battles.
“It is really important to encourage people to speak to their doctors and seek the support they need, signposting them to the help and information required, so we hope by joining other well-known landmarks across the country, we can highlight this.”
Anna Frodsham, from Pancreatic Cancer UK, said:
“We are delighted to join forces with BCP Council once again and pleased the Twin Sails Bridge will be joining the Purple Lights for Pancreatic Cancer campaign this year.
“The act of lighting up a prominent landmark enables local communities to shine a spotlight on a disease that deserves a lot more attention.
“We hope that by publicising light ups across the UK, it will encourage people to find out more about pancreatic cancer and its symptoms, so we can save more lives.
“We believe something as simple as illuminating a landmark can really help raise awareness, and the Twin Sails Bridge provides us with a fantastic opportunity to do this.”