When Prince Charles chose her as his official harpist, Claire Jones knew that she was on top of her game. Years of daily practice were beginning to pay off. Claire was thrust into the headlines further when playing at William and Katherine's wedding Claire, even though still very young, seemed to thrive in this environment. After the wedding, Claire gave over a thousand interviews, got to number two in the album charts and could play in one continent one day, fly back home and give another performance without a day off. In the video above, Claire admits that she felt almost superhuman; however, she quickly found that this pace of life was not sustainable. Claire became very ill, very fast, becoming bed-bound she was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy. Claire speaks candidly about her experiences in an interview with Alex Howard of the not-for-profit Optimum Health Clinic.

Thankfully, after two years, Claire began to recover and slowly was able to practice, and later perform. Claire, thankfully, saw this as a wake-up call. Putting her career and life in perspective, Claire now tries to share her story with others so that it might help them. Seeing that different types of music could be healing or stressful, Claire chose music to convey her experience and recorded the album The Journey to try to convey her own journey through her music.

Claire is performing in Shrewsbury on Friday 6th May 2016. You might have read about her story with M.E. in the local papers. To see her perform,  Tickets can be bought from TheatreSevern.


Donna swaps bike for boots

One SMEG's committee member always comes up with imaginative (and exciting) ways to help people with M.E..

Donna Teague has been organising workshops to help people with M.E. in surgeries around Shropshire since 2013.
Last year Donna raised nearly £200 for SMEG by riding 100 miles across Shropshire.
On the 8th of July, Donna will be walking across the Malvern Hills to raise money for SMEG.

Donna has a great understanding of M.E. as a close member of her family has had M.E.
If you want to sponsor Donna (or if you are fit enough join her for a little part of her walk)  contact Donna here.

(Photo courtesy of Chris Chapman)

Shropshire SMEG Self-help groups

SMEG support Group image

People with this mysterious illnesses M.E. often find it quite helpful to meet others with the same illness. Because of this, M.E. self-help groups in have sprung up in Shropshire, with the help of SMEG members who coordinate them. Here is a list of volunteers who these small, informal groups in their locality. Thankfully, these groups always welcome newcomers. In fact, people with M.E. don't even have to be a member to come along!

Feedback from members attending these groups often comment that these groups show a great deal of empathy, patience and understanding. After visiting the group to further understand this mysterious illness many people are so struck by their warmth that they become to them a regular social event.


Bridgnorth: Held on the first Tuesday of each month from around 12-2 pm at Parlour’s Hall Hotel. Please contact Elizabeth for more details.

North Shropshire: please contact Amelia for more details.

Oswestry: please contact Megan for more details.

Powys or South Shropshire border:  please contact Karen for details. The group meets in Montgomery, situated on the Shropshire border.

Shrewsbury: Held in the front foyer lounge of The Lord Hill Hotel, Abbey Foregate, on the first Thursday of each month starting at 11am and finishing between noon and 12:30pm. Very regular and informal. If you find a group of six or more chatting together it will undoubtedly be the group.

South Shropshire: please contact Rosemary for more details.

Telford and Wrekin: please contact Daphne for more details.

National/International Events

'Severe M.E. Awareness Day' - highlighting the plight of those with severe M.E. (observed on 8th August each year)

'International ME/CFS Awareness Day' - designated as 12th May (annually observed 1992)