THE Mersey Gateway bridge will be lit up in red to mark World AIDS Day next month.

Hayley Smith, from Runcorn, has successfully lobbied to have the landmark turned red on December 1.

The 48-year-old has suffered from Crohn’s disease since she was a young child and empathises with those with long-term illnesses.

She was inspired to research the cause after watching It’s a Sin on television last year as was shocked about how people with HIV and AIDS were treated.

Hayley said: “HIV hasn’t gone away and it is still around.

“It’s about testing and raising awareness as this illness can affect anyone.

“The stigma around HIV is what is causing people to not get tested or even talk about it. It’s time to talk, raise awareness and end all new cases by 2030.”

Hayley is trying to get home testing kits for people and hopes to create a place where residents can go for help and be directed to support services.

She is also organising a fundraiser for the Delamere Centre – a unit offering counselling and complementary therapies for people and their families going through cancer treatment.

A Christmas afternoon tea at the Runcorn War Memorial on Saturday, November 20, will raise funds for the cause – with red ribbons for World AIDS Day also on sale.