A CUMBRIAN broadcaster has been announced as the first ever patron of a charity that supports unpaid carers in the area.

Caz Graham, from Kendal, says she is excited and honoured at being announced as patron of Carer Support South Lakes, which supports hundreds of unpaid carers each year.

The Kendal-based charity helps people of all ages to cope with the pressures of looking after loved ones.

Ms Graham, who broadcasts nationally on BBC Radio 4, believes the support offered by the charity is vital to so many.

 “Carer Support South Lakes is a crucial organisation for anyone of us who is suddenly hit by the “freight-train” that is having to care for someone we love,” she said.

“It can happen to anyone of us at any time. It could be our mum, our dad, our kids, our partner.

“It is incredibly draining emotionally and physically. There are so many things you just don’t realise until you are in that position.”

The Carlisle- born broadcaster said she began to fully understand the vital role of Carer Support South Lakes after seeing close friends becoming carers for their loved ones.

“Nobody knows when it is going to happen, and nobody really understands it until it touches you or your close friends,” she said.

“Becoming a carer for a loved one is physically exhausting, mentally exhausting and it can seem never-ending. We all need support at times like that.”

Carer Support South Lakes estimates there are more than 12,000 unpaid carers in the South Lakes area alone.

And the charity provides a wide range of services including one-to-one support to help a carer’s health and wellbeing. They also provide a sitting service, where volunteers step in to allow carers to take a break.

Ms Graham has lived in Kendal for 18 years and reports and presents for BBC Radio 4 programmes including Farming Today, On Your Farm and Open Country. She also reports for PM and World at One.

 “In recent years I have become aware how quickly life can change and, often, you have no control over it,” said Ms Graham.

 “That’s why it’s so important we all support charities like Carer Support South Lakes – in whatever way we can.”

 Mike Seaton, the CEO of Carer Support South Lakes, said: “We are delighted to welcome Caz Graham as our new patron and we thank her for the support.

“Caz is a highly respected national broadcaster who knows from personal experience how vital support is when someone finds themselves caring for a loved one.

“She will help us engage with, and offer support to, as many non-paid carers as possible.

“Our aim is to improve the lives of carers of all ages and having Caz as our Patron will help us and our highly valued volunteers to do that.”