FORMER Cirencester mayor invites women from across the district to an event to break the stigma and secrecy surrounding menopause. 

CDC Cllr Claire Bloomer for New Mills, and cabinet member for cost of living and inclusion, has organised a fair to provide tangible information about menopause after experiencing first-hand the debilitating impacts it can have.

The fair will be held at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester on World Menopause Day - Wednesday, October 18 - from 4pm until 8pm.

Menopause specialists, physiotherapists, yoga teachers and nutritionists will be in attendance to offer guidance on the topic. 

This event has been organised by a group of six friends, including Claire, who set up a Facebook page called You, Me and the Menopause last year which has been supported by Dr Dawn Harper from Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies. 

The group has more than 330 members and has become a safe place for women to share their fears, get medical advice and help each other through this special stage in life.

It also runs face-to-face sessions every other month at the Royal Agricultural University where speakers come in and talk about topics such at HRT and mental health. 

When Cllr Bloomer first starting going through induced menopause because of a hysterectomy she found it extremely difficult to cope with. 

She described the experience has 'extremely debilitating' and has now made it her mission to shatter the taboo which often surrounds it.

Over the last few years she has helped Perry Bishop, Cirencester Town Council, Royal Agricultural University and Cotswold District Council implement a menopause policy to support female employees. 

Cllr Bloomer said: "Before going through it I had the naïve attitude that it was just hot flushes but it massively impacted me.

"I lost all my confidence and stepped down as mayor after a year because it was so hard for me to live a normal life.

"It sounds really dramatic but it can be a life-changing experience for lots of women.

"50 per cent of the population go through menopause and my passion is to educate young people.

"I have two daughters and they are fully prepared and aware of menopause now.

"People often say to me 'gosh you should be ashamed talking about menopause like this' but 40 years ago nobody used to talk about periods or mental health openly either. 

"Menopause can have very similar side effects to depression, such as anxiety, suicidal thoughts, a lack of sex drive and your entire personality can change.

"There's around 30 symptoms which can be so debilitating yet we don't talk about it because women are made to feel ashamed or fear that they might lose their job or their relationships or friendships.

"At school we talk about sex, periods and LGBTQ but we don't talk about menopause so we really need to widen the educational side to it.

"It also has wider impacts on the family such as children and husbands, so we need to open the discussion with them too.

"I hope people who come to the fair find it really useful and I hope it helps them feel like they are not alone."

To get a free ticket to the event visit