A CHARITY established to fund research on neurological diseases has had a considerable boost by meeting the government's health secretary.
Barrow and Furness Member, John Woodcock, has arranged a meeting with Matt Hancock for NRT founder Peter Barton, who is stepping back from his role as CEO at the Forge Europe LED lighting firm in Ulverston , to dedicate time and energy to charity.
He directs the association together with his friend Graham Servante, former general manager of the Broughton CGV publishing house.
Mr. Barton and Mr. Woodcock were accompanied by professor neurologist Mike Hanna, director of the Institute of Neurology of the University of London College, specializing in pioneering research in the treatment of degenerative diseases such as stroke, MND, Parkinson's and dementia.
The NRT was created with the specific purpose of raising start-up funds for the institute, for research and clinical trials.
Along with cancer and heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases are one of the three biggest killers in the UK – but they receive only a minimal amount of research funding.
Professor Hanna and Mr. Barton urged the health secretary to increase funding for neurological research and increase its priority in NHS planning.
Speaking later, Mr. Woodcock said, "It was great to be able to support Peter's new adventure by bringing it on the radar of the health secretary.
"Everyone whose family has been touched by one of the many neurological degenerative diseases, knows how important it is.
"Pain for the sick and affected, such as diseases like MS, MND and dementia, is difficult to describe and it is not fair that this area receives so little funding compared to other killers.
"Matt Hancock has listened carefully and it has been really encouraging, and I will do everything possible to support the new group as it takes off.
"While charities for specific conditions already play vital work, it is clear that NRT can add value to help scientists increase their understanding of the common factors among diseases.
"On a personal level, it was nice to see Professor Hanna again after he helped me recover from the serious head injury I had when I fell from a ladder home a few years ago."
Mr. Barton said: "I was also very encouraged to note how Matt Hancock is well informed about the challenge of neurological disease.
"Our research aligns perfectly with the Government's Healthy Aging agenda and Mike and I hope to invite the Secretary of State to the Institute of Neurology at Queen Square to see their first-hand work very soon. "
Mr. Woodcock supported the work of the NRT last summer, when he took part in a 179-mile cycle run from Walney to Whitby for charity.