SHOPPERS got a surprise and some gigantic high-fives as they were greeted by a 12ft talking hand in the middle of the city.

It has been making a journey across the country, stopping yesterday in Gloucester Green, to raise awareness of issues relating to early rheumatoid arthritis, which affects about 10,000 people in Oxfordshire.

The hand, with its glowing joints, has a clear message: If your hands and joints are trying to tell you something, go and see your GP.

Georgina McMasters knows only too well the problems that can arise from not having rheumatoid arthritis treated quickly.

Having suffered from the condition for 23 years, she said: “This campaign is all about raising awareness because the sooner rheumatoid arthritis is flagged to a doctor and treated, the better, because the treatments work best when used early on.

“I was diagnosed in an age before this was known and recognised and, as a result, I’ve had to have both my knees and hips replaced.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in your joints. It will start off in the smaller joints before attacking the larger ones.”

The campaign is organised by the Oxford Academic Health Science Network and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. For more information visit