A MUM with health issues wants to raise awareness of hidden disabilities by letting people know about the sunflower lanyard.

Lauretta Smith, from Bourton-On-The-Water feels people can often judge her on appearances without knowing the details of her condition.

The 44-year-old has ME, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Fibromyalgia. She says due the medication she has to take, people sometimes think she is drunk.

Mrs Smith said:"The reason I have got a sunflower lanyard is because of the way people treat you when you have got an invisible illness. I don't go out on my own that often but when I do people sometimes shove past me. It is quite concerning that people might see me and just think I am drunk."

Mrs Smith said people sometime make comments challenging her when she tells them she has arthritis, as they associate it with older people.

She said: "If I have the lanyard I hope people might see it as a symbol and be a bit more open minded and aware. It's important people try and understand. People think of disability as people in wheelchairs but it isn't always like that."

"My husband uses them at work because he looks after adults with learning disabilities. I thought, 'what a wonderful idea.' I am hoping more shops teach their staff to recognise them."

Mrs Smith used to work with children but had to stop because of her compromised immune system. "I do miss it" she said.

In Evesham, Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Argos are all part of the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme. Visit facebook.com/hiddendisabilitiessunflower for more information.