PASSENGERS using the Mersey ferries on Wednesday will be offered free blood pressure checks as part of an awareness campaign by the Stroke Association.

At 7.30am on Wednesday, representatives from the charity will offer the tests to commuters boarding the ferry at the Seacombe terminal to Liverpool's Pier Head.

From 10.30am, passengers boarding the River Explorer Cruise at the Woodside Ferry Terminal will also be able to get theirs checked by the team.

High blood pressure contributes to about 50 per cent of strokes and is the biggest controllable risk factor for the condition. It affects 16 million people in the UK, but has no obvious symptoms.

Wendy Kay, communication support co-ordinator from the Stroke Association, said: "Getting tested is simple; blood pressure tests are quick and painless and taking control of your blood pressure can reduce your risk of stroke.

"We're really grateful to Mersey Ferries for helping us to raise awareness and we hope to see lots of people on Wednesday. We’ll be encouraging those with a high blood pressure reading to follow up with their GPs."