MAYOR Milton Martin has pledged to raise £20,000 to help the fight against sickle cell anaemia.

He made the pledge at the annual meeting of the national campaign body, the Sickle Cell Society, in Euston.

The Mayor, who chose the society as this year's mayoral charity, went to the meeting with Mayoress Tracy Chandler, Leyton resident and campaigner Miranda Grell and MP for Brent South Dawn Butler.

Ms Grell said: "I really welcome Mr Martin's timely campaign to raise more awareness of sickle cell anaemia and the devastating effect it has on the lives of sufferers and their families."

She added: "Many African and Caribbean families living in Waltham Forest are affected by sickle cell and they need more help and support. Mr Martin's efforts will be appreciated."

Sickle cell anaemia affects the red blood cells that contain haemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. People with the condition have sickle haemoglobin, which is different from normal haemoglobin. It has a different shape which means red blood vessels can get blocked and sufferers can experience severe pain as their organs and joints are starved of oxygen. The condition affects more than 12,000 across the UK, the majority of whom are of African or African -Caribbean origin .