ANDOVER has become one of the first places in the UK to wear its heart on its sleeve and sign up as a Heart Town and make healthy living a top priority for local people.

Andover Vision has teamed up with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to help put the heart into Andover as part of the charity’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, which has been launched to mark its 50th anniversary this year.

Heart Towns is a brand new initiative from the nation’s heart charity and it is bringing communities together through local events, fundraising and volunteering as well as raising awareness of heart disease.

Heart and circulatory disease is the UK’s biggest killer and the BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal is raising £50 million for ground-breaking research to find a way to help the heart mend itself.

Andover Vision – which is a partnership between local councils, businesses, schools, colleges, volunteers and health professionals – is behind a 20-year-plan to improve the lives of people who live and work in the town.

And two of the Vision’s main focuses are positive participation – encouraging people to do more and get more involved – and health and wellbeing.

Andover Vision manager Sue Sheppard said: “We’re delighted to be chosen as a Heart Town. And we’re really excited by the partnership with the British Heart Foundation.

“As a Heart Town we’ll think more about what a healthy heart needs. We’ll be encouraging people to do more exercise, think more about what they eat and stop smoking.

“We’ll be doing all we can to promote healthy lifestyles to people in Andover and we’ll raise money for the BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts appeal too,” she said.

l Continued on page 3 l From front page Over the next year, the Andover Vision will be running a series of Heart Town events including a health and wellbeing fair and promoting and organising events to help people give up smoking, get more active and think more about their diet.

The Vision will also be supporting health tests, wellbeing weeks and events held by local employers. It will be encouraging people to organise Wear it Red days and sponsorship events to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

Andover was chosen as a Heart Town partner by the British Heart Foundation mainly because of the phenomenal support and fundraising efforts by Test Valley Borough Councillor Brian Page MBE.

In the 25 years he was chairman of the local British Heart Foundation branch, Brian raised over £360,000 for the charity. He was awarded an Andover Vision Pride Award last year for his voluntary work.

Anyone interested in volunteering or organising an Andover Vision Heart Town event should visit or call the local Fundraising Volunteer Manager Mary Bareham on 02392 467904 or email <&bh""><&eh> Andover Vision Heart Town activities already planned this year include: Wear it Red fundraising days at Andover schools and Testway Housing in the spring.

British Heart Foundation visit Stannah during their wellbeing fortnight in June.

The Andover Vision Heart Town Wellbeing Fair in Andover High Street on Friday 17 June.

An Andover Vision Heart Town Do It Together event in September will ask local people to do something that is for their heart together with their friends, family or work mates.

For more information, tips and advice see the British Heart Foundation web site at <&bh""><&eh>