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Countess of Mar retires: share your message of thanks

May 04, 2020

Action for M.E. would like to extend our sincere and grateful thanks to the Countess of Mar, who has announced her retirement from the House of Lords following almost 45 years of service.

Margaret, the 31st Countess of Mar, joined the House of Lords in 1975. She has been a staunch advocate for people with M.E., raising awareness and highlighting the lack of funding for biomedical research. In Parliamentary debates and through the use of written questions, Lady Mar has worked ceaselessly to push M.E. up the agenda, highlighting injustices faced by those living with the condition. She has undertaken much of this through her founding and chairing Forward-ME, the collaborative of UK charities and voluntary organisations of which Action for M.E. is a committed and active member.

Speaking in the Telegraph this weekend, Margaret said: "I don’t want to be there past my best before date. I’m not going to be one of those people who staggers around with a zimmer frame and needs people to tell them where they’re going. I’ve seen too much of that. I want to go out on a high.”

She also shares her concerns about the long-term effects of Covid-19. “There is such a thing as post viral fatigue syndrome,” she says. “A lot of people have been pushed back to work too early, for example the medical staff. They will have a collapse eventually. The M.E. groups are keeping an eye open for that.”

Sonya Chowdhury, Chief Executive, Action for M.E., says: “While the Countess of Mar’s retirement is sad news, I am delighted to hear that she will continue contributing to Forward ME. Her leadership of this important collaborative has been exceptional and made real difference for us within each organisation and for people with M.E. more widely. Her tenacity, challenge, compassion and determination is an inspiration and I feel very privileged to have worked with her. Though this is a loss to the M.E. community, Margaret can retire knowing that she has strengthened each of the organisations she has worked with through her resolve and determination - and we will continue to benefit from her expertise and knowledge going forward.”

We are sure that many of you would like to share your thoughts and thanks with Margaret, and we have set up a page where you can do this. Please do contribute if you would like to. We will be collating your messages and sending them to her at the end of May.