GUEST COLUMN: Elsie is an inpiration, by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero

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I recently met 23-month-old Elsie Novell and her family at their home in Sutton. I first read about Elsie’s story in the Chad and I couldn’t help but feel moved and inspired by her and her family’s bravery and positivity.

Elsie was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic muscle condition which affects the lower motor neurones. It means that she will never walk and her muscles will eventually waste away. There is currently no cure but Elsie’s family and friends are determined to raise as much money as possible to pay for adaptions to the home and specialist equipment to make her life as happy as it can be.

Their target is £50,000 and they’ve already raised £17,000. I hope readers can help them reach their target. On Saturday November 21, at 7.30pm the Cantamus Training Choir are performing a charity event called Songs for Elsie. The venue is the Parish of St Philip Neri, 3 Chesterfield Road South, Mansfield, NG19 7AB and tickets are £12. To book, call Sue Green on 07702 195450 or emailsue_green@btinternet.com.

Update. I know lots of Kirkby residents have a great affinity for the old Nags Head clock and I’ve promised to keep folk up to date with latest developments.

Council bosses have now told me that although the clock will not be re-sited in its previous spot in the town centre they are working very closely with a new group of residents to look at alternative sites. The council welcomes feedback, send your views to volunteering@ashfield-dc.gov.uk.

This week is the annual Respect for Shopworkers Week organised by the retail staff union Usdaw, as part of its Freedom From Fear campaign.

The theme this year is Keep Your Cool at Christmas, seeking to highlight the rising tension levels in stores during the festive shopping period, especially during the increasingly busy Black Friday sales. Usdaw is reinforcing the message that taking abuse is not part of working in retail. Christmas shopping always brings its own stresses and strains for us all, but please do remember to treat the hard working shop staff with the respect they deserve.‎