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Reading woman waltzes away with National Lottery Award

19th Awst 2013

The outstanding achievements of a Reading woman were today recognised when Len Goodman from Strictly Come Dancing broke the news that the charity she established has been voted the UK’s favourite health project.

Since setting up the Ichthyosis Support Group (ISG) in 1997, Mandy Aldwin has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of ichthyosis, a rare and potentially fatal condition, which affects around one in 600,000 people.

Despite having only one part-time member of staff, based in Bagshot in Surrey, the ISG got almost 5,000 public votes in this year’s National Lottery Awards, the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded good causes.

Len Goodman today made a surprise appearance at an ISG event to present Strictly Come Dancing fan Mandy with a National Lottery Awards trophy.
Mandy almost died from ichthyosis at birth. She has since given thousands of hours of her time voluntarily to help others through the ISG and was overjoyed to win the Award:

“I’m a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing and couldn’t believe my eyes when Len Goodman turned up with the trophy. We’ve campaigned so hard for votes and, as a small charity, we’re overwhelmed to have got this level of public support. Little is known about the condition, even among health professionals, because it is so rare. Winning this award is tremendous recognition for the efforts of the whole group.”

Having delivered the good news to Mandy and other members of the ISG, Len Goodman said:“The ISG is a wonderful charity and Mandy is an inspiration to us all. The help and support they provide to people with ichthyosis changes lives. National Lottery players should be proud that they are supporting charities like this. It’s definitely a ten from Len for the ISG!”

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About the charity:

The Ichthyosis Support Group (ISG) is the only registered charity in the UK supporting individuals and families affected by all forms ichthyosis, a rare genetic condition affecting our largest organ, the skin.
Sufferers have to follow a rigorous daily routine of scrubbing to remove the build up of skin to prevent infections, and then apply thick, greasy creams to prevent dryness and cracking which, if left untreated, can become so severe that it breaks the bones of the fingers and toes – and can be fatal for babies.

In 2012, medical professionals in the north west of England contacted ISG to report a lack of awareness and support for ichthyosis sufferers in the area. The BIG Lottery Fund awarded the charity £9,650 of National Lottery funding to enable the group to hold a family fun day at Old Trafford in Manchester where families attended formal workshops and lectures about the condition and how to treat it.

About the Awards:

National Lottery players raise over £35 million a week and that money goes to support people and projects across the UK. Over 400,000 projects have received National Lottery funding, with the majority of grants being for less than £10,000. The Awards are a great way to show National Lottery players where their funding has gone and the life-changing difference playing the Lottery every week is making to communities across the UK.

There are seven categories in the Awards, reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary/charity.

The Ichthyosis Support Group and the six other winners will be celebrated at a special star-studded ceremony broadcast on BBC One in September. Winners receive a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project as well as a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.

For more information contact Michael Thompson on 0207 211 3894/07734 295745 or email: