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Lord Puttnam admits to suffering from ME

Story by: Jack Foley

OSCAR-winning British film-maker, David Puttnam, has revealed he is suffering from ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

The respected producer told the Guardian newspaper that he had been living with the condition for 16 years, after he was first affected by a bout in 1988.

Lord Puttnam believes the condition was triggered by a virus, coupled with the strain he had been under during the previous ten years spent making films, including Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and Bugsy Malone.

The 63-year-old made the shock revelation after being asked to speak about the disease by the charity, Action for ME, which is bidding to raise public awareness of the little-known condition.

ME traditionally causes extreme fatigue, muscle pains and headaches, and was originally labelled ‘yuppie flu’, when it first emerged in the 80s. The exact cause remains unknown.

However, it can have devastating effects on careers and was partly responsible for Lord Puttnam’s departure from Columbia Pictures, in Hollywood.

"It occurred at exactly the time that things were coming to a head at Columbia Pictures, which was another reason why it was very easy for me to say ‘look - thanks but no thanks’," he told the national newspaper.

The illness had subsequently returned between three and eight times a year, for about three days at a time.

Congratulating the film-maker for his decision to speak out on their behalf, Chris Clark, chief executive of Action for ME, said: "We are delighted that Lord Puttnam has come forward to speak of his life, both before and with ME.

"We hope that his story will reach as many people as possible, helping to create a more understanding world for the thousands that must live with ME every day."

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