Chris Bridgeford, Founder
I was born and bred in Forres in Moray and have lived there all my life. I was educated at Applegrove Primary School and Forres Academy after which I joined Bank of Scotland in 1976 taking early medical retirement in 1995. I ended my days there as an Assistant to the Senior Manager, battling with Balance Sheets, Cash Flow Projections, Securities, and lots of the new-fangled "word processing" with Windows 3.1 and Office 2.0!
In the 1980s I presented weekly and monthly radio shows with local radio station Moray Firth Radio. I was a member of Forres Community Council for ten years mainly serving as secretary and chairman of the Planning sub-committee. I have also been secretary of Forres In Bloom, Forres Golf Course Board of Management and latterly Friends of the Falconer Museum for approximately twelve years.
I am a self-confessed computer nerd with Apple Macs being my preferred system after I got bored with Windows in the early 2000s.
I was granted Burgess of The Royal Burgh of Forres for services to the local community.
I first experienced chronic pain in 1978 when I was diagnosed with Sacroiliitis, thereafter diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
I never conformed to the medical books of the day and after much to-ing and fro-ing and disbelief, I was eventually re-diagnosed in 2004 with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Along with this came Allodynia and Costochondritis and all the other joys of Opioids, Brain Fog, Bowel problems, and Exhaustion.
In 1995 I had an aortal-femoral bypass on my left femoral artery and angioplasty on my right. I had to have my gallbladder removed by a cholecystectomy and there followed numerous incisional hernia repairs with the one in 2004 where things went badly wrong and I lost 9 units of blood and nearly my life. In 2004 the pain drove me to suicidal thoughts but thanks to Reiki things improved for me. There followed numerous bouts of depression until 2014 when things got better. During that time I also developed Diabetes now controlled by insulin and tablets.
With my confidence restored, I decided to form an online support group for chronic pain sufferers and to try to get pain services returned to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin. So on 14th April, 2015 affa sair was born.
Likes: Scottish Politics; Scottish Independence; Reiki; The Roman Period; Science Fiction; American TV Shows; any Gerry Anderson's Series; Netflix; Taskmaster; Cats; Meditation
Most Music; Prog Rock; Good Vocalists e.g. Ella Fitzgerald, Adele, Van Morrison, Gregory Porter, Michael Buble,
Dislikes: Bureaucracy; Behind the scenes decisions; Bullies; 1980s Physiotherapists; Psychologists; Religion; Discrimination; Ignorance; Bad Grammar; Bad Spelling; Football, Anti-Social behaviour; Whitney Houston; Traditional Country Music; Reality TV.
Alison Riddoch, Administrator
I'm originally from Glasgow but have been in Moray since the age of 5. I live in Buckie with my hubby, 2 son's and my wee pooch Tia.
I had a road traffic accident (RTA) 13 years ago causing me to damage my thoracic muscles I have thoracic outlet syndrome & also nerve damage on my upper right torso because of the RTA. I have also developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and suffer with depression, anxiety/panic attacks, allodynia, costochonditris, sciatica, migraines, endometriosis, hiatus hernia, polycystic ovaries, fatigue, IBS, OCD.
Gee! when I read this I'm a bit of a wreck actually . 😁🤣
I love spending time with my family, taking my dog Tia for a walk when I can; Chatting with friends, I really enjoy meeting up with them for a cuppa or lunch as it always cheers me up; I love baking and sharing it with everyone; My garden & greenhouse which is my little sanctuary; Alternative therapies; Going for a drive listening to music as long as it's not repetitive & head nipping I'm a 🤠country girl at heart 😄
Having an invisible illness & being in chronic pain 24/7 😭; Not being able to work; Taking medication; Feeling useless & frustrated at not being able to do everyday things; Constantly being late for things as I forget it takes me so much longer to get dressed and organised; Politics; People who talk over you; Liars; Bullies & bullshitters to name but a few.🤔
Roz Mackenzie, Moderator
Hi. I'm originally from Dufftown and I live in Rothes.
I have fibromyalgia & so am in constant chronic pain.
I like meeting up with my friends for coffee or lunch; doing the garden when not in pain; listening to music; spending time with my family.
Being in pain all the time
Venita Maclean, Moderator
I am originally from South Wales but have moved around with hubby's job in the Forces. I have been living in Elgin since 2003. I have chronic pain throughout my body and nerve damage in my back, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic pain, kneecap pain that also affects my walking and depression.
I like being in my bed as I know I am safe; I love going out with my friends for coffee ☕️ and cake 🎂; that helps with my laughing therapy and it helps my mental health; I like being with good friends; music 🎶; going on holiday; Pop concerts; going for meals out; talking to friends on Facebook and being me I'm not going to change.
Fiona Bruce, Moderator
Hi all, I’m a Buckie quine having lived there all my life until 2010 when I moved 5 minutes along the coast to Portgordon where I currently live with my husband Martin.
In January 1980 my brother was lost at sea, his body was found the following June, the day after we buried him my left knee swelled up like a balloon and over that weekend I went from being a healthy 20 year old to not even being able to go to the bathroom by myself. I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Rheumatoid Arthritis; under active thyroid; pernicious anaemia and take a cocktail drugs for both the conditions and their side effects. Like most people in the Affa Sair group I suffer from bouts of anxiety and low mood. I have had many surgeries and face many more as the RA is so destructive but I get up in the morning (when I can), and I paint on a smile to help me get through my day. I am in constant pain which varies in severity from day to day.
Likes: I love spending time with my family especially my grandchildren. I paint, knit, crochet and generally craft. I love spending time with friends and all the better if there’s cake involved!!
Dislikes: When medical professionals say things like, “ What do you mean you’re still in pain . . . . you’ve had enough morphine to bring down an elephant!” People saying, “ . . . but you look so well” and I have no time whatsoever for know-it-alls and folk who are disingenuous.