A MUSIC teacher and a former nurse are coming together to help out-of-breath Borderers.

Julie Harvey is a renowned voice coach and current director of Traquair Choir.

Along with retired respiratory health specialist Anne Ritchie, she is forming a new musical project aimed at helping anyone with respiratory conditions.

Already successful in Edinburgh, the tuneful treatment helps reverse many conditions associated with breathlessness and fatigue.

Julie told us: "The community singing group is for people suffering from any longterm health conditions which cause  breathlessness such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, emphysema, bronchiectasis and severe asthma.

"The singing group teaches breathing, relaxation and gentle movement exercises that help with releasing trapped air from the lungs in a controlled and fun way. 

"These are then integrated into singing, using phrasing techniques to help breath control. 

"All the techniques are practical and can be incorporated into daily life."

The Scottish Borders is currently the only region in Scotland that doesn't offer a pulmonary rehabilitation service -a programme delivered by physiotherapists that improves exercise tolerance.

Singing for Breathing will be based initially in Innerleithen with plans to expand across the wider Scottish Borders when funding is made available.

Anne, who helped launch a similar project in Edinburgh called The Cheyne Gang, is confident of similar success in the Borders.

She explained: "Singing helps to improve mood, memory and wellbeing. 

"The social benefits of singing with others can reduce loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression associated with longterm illnesses.  

"New and lasting friendships are forged in groups.

"Members of The Cheyne Gang report better sleep, more energy and a generally improved quality of life. 

"They go home tired but happy after their singing workout."

Since the launch of The Cheyne Gang in Edinburgh in 2013 it has grown from one group to three.

And plans are in place to create a fourth singing group at the start of next year.

Anyone who suffers from a breathlessness condition and would like to join Singing for Breathing should contact Julie on 07597 577 527 or 

Anne on 07769322583.