Pictured with the Minister Michelle O'Neill are Nigel Briggs, MD Musgrave Retail Partners NI and Gareth Kirk, CEO Action Cancer.

Pictured with the Minister Michelle O’Neill are Nigel Briggs, MD Musgrave Retail Partners NI and Gareth Kirk, CEO Action Cancer.

AGRICULTURE Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched Action Cancer’s Big Bus from Parliament Buildings, Stormont, setting it off on its way to the Balmoral Show.

The Big Bus, an 18 metre-long articulated vehicle with expanding side pods, will be based at the Balmoral Show on 14-16th May 2014 with the aim of encouraging show goers to take stock of their health.

Free services provided on the Big Bus, sponsored by SuperValu and its independent retailers, include M.O.T. health checks for men and women (16 plus) and digital breast screening for women aged 40-49 and 70 plus (outside of NHS screening age).

Gareth Kirk, Action Cancer Chief Executive said: “Since 2006 we have provided over 24,500 breast screenings and 13,700 M.O.T. health checks on board our Big Bus which travels to around 220 locations throughout Northern Ireland every year.

“We are particularly keen to raise awareness of our men’s health check programme in rural areas and amongst the wider agri-sector.

“To continue to build our rural links we plan to take the Big Bus to this year’s Balmoral Show to offer free ‘pop up’ health checks to men and free breast screening and health checks to women attending the show.”

Minister O’Neill said:  “The health and wellbeing of our rural communities is an issue close to my heart and I am pleased that Action Cancer’s Big Bus will be located at this year’s Balmoral Show as part of their continued support for rural communities.

“With such large numbers of visitors attending the Show each year it provides a further opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of health checks and screening services and I would encourage visitors to take the time to ‘pop in’ to the Big Bus and avail of this excellent service.”

The main sponsor of the Big Bus, retail group SuperValu and its independent retail partners, together have provided £1.2 million of funding for the mobile since 2006. Nigel Briggs, Managing Director of Musgrave Retail Partners NI said:

“We are very proud sponsors of Action Cancer’s Big Bus and the work of SuperValu’s charity partnership has gone a long way in helping bring life-saving detection services to thousands of people across Northern Ireland.

“This will be the Big Bus’s first visit to the Balmoral Show which I hope will raise awareness of its work within the rural community and I would encourage those visiting to take the opportunity to visit the Bus and get a check-up,” Nigel added.

To book an appointment online go to or call 028 9080 3344. To find out more about the Big Bus, email Seán Conlon, Big Bus Coordinator on .

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