Beach Boy spreads Hep C message

A member of one of the world's most famous bands, The Beach Boys, visited an Ipswich man who is recovering from a deadly virus.

IPSWICH: A member of one of the world's most famous bands, The Beach Boys, visited an Ipswich man who is recovering from a deadly virus.

David Marks, the guitarist from the 60s rock band, met Geoffrey Cleghorn at his home in Highfield Road, to help launch a government campaign, Get Tested. Get Treated, to raise awareness of hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a virus that is carried in the blood and can lead to liver failure. As there are no symptoms, many people do not know they are carrying the virus.

Mr Marks, who is from Los Angeles, discovered he had the virus in 1999 when he went to hospital with a broken rib. Following treatment, he has now been virus-free for five years.

He said: “I don't know exactly how I contracted hepatitis C, having been exposed to multiple risk factors in my past including experimentation with drugs. It was frightening when they told me I had it. I did not know what it was.”

Mr Cleghorn, 61, believes he contracted the virus after dallying with some dangerous drugs in the 70s when he was a graphic artist. He only discovered he had it two years ago after some tests when he started volunteering with the Iceni Project in Ipswich.

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He said: “It was an awful shock. I did not realise I had anything wrong with me. I now feel better than I have for the last five years.”

His treatment is due to finish in the next fortnight.

If you think you have contracted the virus, visit www.nhs.uk/hepc or call the free information line on 0800 1814114.