Lynn Griffiths, the President of CO Awareness asked me earlier this year if I thought we could pull off a special day in Liverpool as part of this year's National CO Awareness Week.
The first four days are traditionally held in the Parliaments/Assemblies of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but the fifth day, the Friday is in a town or city within the Union. Last year we were in Dewsbury for instance, where a lot of work has gone into CO awareness following the tragic death of 10 year old Dominic Rodgers in Huddersfield.
Lynn is from Runcorn and has done some great work with Halton Housing Trust and felt that between us, we could do something special in Liverpool. With the support of Liverpool City Council and particularly Fred Pye who works in the Healthy Homes Initiative Team and with the support of Merseyside Fire Service, Liverpool Student Homes and various other organisations - the Private Landlord Accreditation Scheme and some great help from the local PCT, we put on a really good event.
I booked the Town Hall and asked city council leader, Councillor Warren Bradley to speak about LCC intitiatives by people like Fred and his colleagues, to show the commitment of the city to CO Awareness. Lynn had persuaded the Health and Safety Minister, Lord McKenzie of Luton to come up for the event and had lots of other key speakers lined up too.
I was responsible for issuing the invites and was petrified that nobody would come but on the day we had about 80-100 people, from RSLs, the fire service, the ambulance service, people who fit gas appliances, people who design and sell detectors, people who provide student accomodation, private landlords, hoteliers, all sorts of people. And several came over to me afterwards to tell me about action points they were taking away.
I was thrilled to hear that Merseyside Fire Service have offered CO Awareness an office in their Aintree premises and I look forward to a really productive relationship with them.
I was also delighted that Rapid, on Renshaw Street, had sold loads of detectors in a special campaign, during the week, to reduce the price, while advertising in the Echo and on the radio, about the awareness campaign. Thanks a million to everyone at Rapid!
All in all it was a really big success and we raised an awful lot of awareness, which is what it is all about after all. I had invited Michael's parents but they wrote and said they are getting too old now to travel but wished us all well with the day. 50 people die every single year, of a completely unneccessary and totally preventable cause, and thousands more live but with serious health implications. We have to get that awareness much further up people's agenda and this, for Liverpool, was a real step in the right direction