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Guest blog: Gemma’s 25th birthday party in memory of Mum

Posted on: April 24 2018

In this guest blog, Gemma Bendell shares why she is hosting a special dinner and dance in memory of her Mum Deborah, all in aid of MS-UK...Photo of Deborah Bendell

Like many others, I lost a special someone to this cruel disease on 13 February 2002 - my Mum!
As a promise to myself, I have vowed that for each landmark birthday I have - my mothers name, Deborah Bendell, will be honoured - as without her, I wouldn’t be celebrating at all. So, for my 25th birthday I am hosting a Dinner & Dance in aid of this amazing charity, MS-UK.
Multiple sclerosis is a cruel disease and those who suffer with it can often deteriorate extremely quickly and unfortunately this was the case for my Mum. Despite the pain and suffering my Mum went through, she’ll always be remembered for being the happiest and cheekiest person in any room. I aspire every day to make her proud and resemble her in some way - so for me, this fundraiser is just the start of a long journey. 
I may not have had much time with my Mum, as I was only 8 when she passed; however I know the support we received after her passing was second to none and this charity, MS-UK, is able to offer similar to others in need too.
So the long and short of it, if you aren’t able to celebrate with us on 27 April at the Dinner & Dance (see below the flyer for contact details) but would like to contribute to this special charity, any spare change to reach my goal is unbelievably appreciated! 
In memory of Deborah Bendell, my Mum, and other loved ones suffering!

You can donate to Gemma’s fundraising on her fundraising page online.

Gemma event poster.png

Colchester Half Marathon runners raise awareness of multiple sclerosis

Posted on: March 30 2018

On Sunday 25 March, nearly 3,000 runners took to the streets of Colchester in Essex to complete the Colchester Half Marathon. The day promised an ‘amazing mass-participation event bringing together local runners, businesses and the community’. It didn’t disappoint. With lots of excitement the runners set off at 9am sharp!

Taking part in the race and running especially for MS-UK were occupational therapy masters students from the University of Essex, Tess, Claire and Lauren. Lauren and Claire both have personal experience with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Commenting before the race, Claire said: ‘My neighbour was diagnosed three years ago and it has driven me to fundraise for this charity, I know it will make him proud.’

Photo of Purple Paddy's before the half marathon

Neil Dulieu, a Teaching Assistant at Mersea Island School, has been running semi-seriously for around five years. His wife Amanda has secondary progressive MS and he took part in this year’s Colchester Half Marathon as part of his bigger fundraising plans.

Neil explained: ‘At the end of last year I decided I really wanted to set myself a challenge for 2018 to raise money for MS. 2018km in 2018 just came to me one night, the numbers worked well, it equated to averaging a full marathon distance every week and meant I could start on 1st January and incredibly finish the challenge on my birthday, 1st December. I tend to run most days before or after school and then often run the Colchester or Mersea Park Runs on a Saturday morning to finish my week off (with one rest day on a Sunday).’

The chosen charity partners for this year’s Colchester Half Marathon were Essex & Herts Air Ambulance who will receive 75% of the proceeds and MS-UK who will receive 25%.

Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager from MS-UK said: ‘It was great to see the turn out on Sunday and the atmosphere was buzzing. We had Myles the MS-UK mascot dancing away and spurring everyone on, as well as volunteers at water stations, marshalling and in the stadium supporting all of the runners.

‘We at MS-UK are so proud of everyone who took part and would like to thank you all for your time, dedication and effort in raising money for people with MS. The charity relies on the generous support of our fundraisers to make our work possible, and we’re delighted that we’ll be able to continue supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis.’

To see all of the great pictures taken on the day, visit the MS-UK Facebook page. Don’t forget to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ our page while you’re there!

Guest blog: In memory of Gramps

Posted on: March 13 2018

In April 2018, Laura Cassidy will be reaching the dizzy heights of 10,000 feet when she takes on a skydiving challenge to raise funds for MS-UK. In this guest blog, Laura tells us all about why this is so important to her…

grandad.jpg‘Doing a skydive has always been the top of my bucket list, so when I finally built up the nerve, doing it for charity really was a no brainer. Being able to have this amazing experience and raise money for a great cause…how amazing!

‘I knew straight away I wanted the money to go to a multiple sclerosis (MS) charity and after doing some research MS-UK really stood out to me.

‘My Gramps suffered with MS for a long time and my only memories of him are in a wheelchair but he always had a smile on his face. The care he received was always great so I am so pleased to be able to contribute to help other people.

‘I am so overwhelmed by how much I have raised so far and am desperate to reach £1,000 by the time it comes to my jump! I’m excited about it now but when it comes down to it I think I might have to be pushed out of the plane!!

We are really pleased to say Laura has smashed her £1,000 target, but you can still donate on her JustGiving page today!

Your donations help MS-UK support even more people affected by multiple sclerosisto really make the most of today and live life to the full. Thank you!

Pins for pounds!

Posted on: February 21 2018

vlm-e-news-image1-2.jpgHello, This year is very special for MS-UK as we celebrate our 25th anniversary of supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis! So, how can you get involved? Well, you could be the proud owner of one of our limited edition anniversary pin badges! In 2018, we have a limited edition 25th anniversary pin badge especially for anyone who raises or donates £25 or more in aid of MS-UK! Whether you love getting active or prefer a cuppa and cake, fundraising for MS-UK is as much fun as you make it! Ways to support MS-UK…

Whatever you decide to do, we’re here to support you all the way. Contact the fundraising team using our online form. And good luck! Jill Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager  

Fundraiser of the Month: Kimberley

Posted on: February 16 2018

20170916_130921.jpgIn this Fundraiser of the Month blog, Kimberley tells us all about becoming one of the first 500 people to enter the London Classics Hall of Fame...all in aid of MS-UK!

I’m a bit of a have a go girl…I’ve done marathons, swam up to 10km in a river, triathlons up to iron distance and I do love a challenge, particularly if you end up with some serious bling to keep! In among that, I am the sister/daughter of two amazing family members who lived their lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) and while they are no longer here I am still inspired by them to keep on ‘having a go’ and also raise awareness for MS-UK who offer amazing support.

Having completed the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2005 and 2006 and RideLondon in 2015 I was really excited to see the launch of the London Classics at the Swim Serpentine Event last year. 

You could earn a fourth bit of bling – serious bling too – for swimming in the 2 mile wave of the Swim Serpentine event. So I entered! I was one of the first 500 to complete this spectacular trio and earn two medals in one day! We were also able to earn a place in the ‘Hall of Fame’, which will grow every year now.

So, if you have done one of the events, or two, then try to complete the third as a personal challenge and earn the most amazing bit of bling and bragging rights too!

It also adds a unique twist to your fundraising strategy as not many will achieve this goal very quickly. So just go for it and bring on the bling! Yours in sporting bling Kimberley!


The winner takes it all!

Posted on: February 14 2018

Hello, I am really pleased to announce today that we’ve launched a brand new way for you to support MS-UK – and you could be a winner!


We’ve teamed up with make a smile lottery to offer a really easy way to help our work supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis. There are weekly cash prizes to be won, with a first prize of £250!


You can join online and pay by either monthly direct debit or by card, so you choose how you play. And for every £1 play, 60p will come directly to MS-UK!

So, do you feel lucky? Roll up and play!

Good luck!


Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager

Anyone can enter; you just need to be over 16 and living in mainland Great Britain. Please play responsibly.

Legal terms

make a smile lottery, 9 The Courtyards, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester, Essex, CO4 9PE. Telephone 0300 303 4500. Email Visit You must be 16 or over to play make a smile lottery. Please play responsibly. Responsible gambling support: make a smile lottery is wholly owned by St Helena Hospice, a charity working with other charities to raise much needed funds. Promoter: St Helena Hospice trading as make a smile lottery. Licensed by the Gambling Commission Number 000-004685-N-306842-006 St Helena Hospice is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales Number 01511841. Registered Charity Number 280919. Registered Office: Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester CO4 9JU.

We're all in it together...

Posted on: February 02 2018


Deciding to volunteer for the first time can be a scary thing. You see a post on Facebook, or a friend mentions an event to you, and you wonder if you’d enjoy it. Sometimes you just shrug it off and say ‘maybe next year’ to yourself, but sometimes you take a chance. If you’re thinking now is the time to take that chance, I wanted to share with you what your experience may be like if you join the MS-UK cheering squad.

There is something very special about volunteering at a national event…you realise we’re all in it together. Every race marshal, every charity, every runner, every cyclist, every volunteer – together we’re making it possible for the event to happen.


At MS-UK, we love supporting #TeamPurple, whether it’s at the RideLondon or the British 10k.

As you arrive in London in the morning, there is a sense of anticipation in the air.

The pavements may still be being swept and the barriers are being put along the side of the roads, but as you make your way to Trafalgar Square the buzz is already beginning. The four lions greet you and you know today will be a good day.

You exchange smiles with other volunteers, decked out in the all the colours of the rainbow to support their chosen charities, and as you approach the MS-UK cheering point you’re being greeted with a warm smile and asked if you’d like tea or coffee. As you pull a MS-UK t-shirt over your head you feel part of something truly awesome.

Whispers travel from cheering point to cheering point, and before you know it you are straining to see the first runners or cyclists as you hear that they have crossed the starting line. They keep coming, more and more, the roar of the crowd swells and you can’t help but join in, lifting your voice to shout encouragements at everyone who passes you by.

‘Come on Lilly!’

‘You’re rocking it Ahmed!’

‘Keep going David, you can do it!’

‘Just keep swimming – I mean running!’

‘You got this Katie!’

It doesn’t matter why they are taking part, whether it’s for charity, in memory of a loved one, for themselves to prove they can do it. You lock eyes with them, you raise your rapper clapper into the air and you cheer with all your might.

Of course there is a special kind of feeling when you spot someone in a purple MS-UK top, and you can sense the team around you glowing with pride and excitement.

At the end of the day, as you help take down the sail flags and gulp down water after all that cheering, you look around and realise you have not only made a difference, you have made friends for life. You ask me if you can just ‘hang on’ to the MS-UK t-shirt in case you ever think of volunteering again. I wave goodbye as you head to the nearest tube station or bus stop, but even as you get on board I know you won’t be able to help nodding to people as you spot medals and dirty trainers and charity t-shirts dotted everywhere. Everyone is tired. Everyone is sweaty. And everyone is smiling.

This is what a day volunteering with MS-UK as part of our cheer squad looks like. It’s hard work, it’s amazing fun, and you won’t be going it alone. Whether you are taking your first chance or have been coming along for years now, we’re in it together.

Get in touch with Jenny today by email or give us a call on 01206 226500 to find out more about becoming a member of our cheer squad. You can also read a bit more about the role on our website.

Best wishes,


Jill Purcell

Fundraising Manager

New year's dip anyone? Read Chris' story today!

Posted on: January 18 2018

chris-new-year-dip_2.jpgIn this guest blog, we celebrate our first Fundraiser of the Month of 2018! Find out more about how Chris Leslie took on a new year's dip in aid of MS-UK...bbbbrrr!

‘Happy New Year’ was still circulating around the web, mobile phones were recovering from meltdown. Some people were recovering from the night before.

No such luxury for me, I had been offered the opportunity to have a new year’s day ‘dip’. It was the good people at Bognor Regis swimming club who offered me space.

I thought this was bit special, so I accepted on the basis that I could raise funds for a charity of my choice, so having done many daft things in the past for Justablefriends and other charities, I decided that this was to be a charity that was really close to me, I chose MS-UK.

A simple choice really for me as I’ve seen what multiple sclerosis (MS) does to people, and the effect it has on people and families. I can’t claim that I can help to find a cure for MS that will help those close to me, but I can raise a few pounds to help towards the support work that MS-UK get involved with.

So, I set up the link to donate to my Page for the charity. I then got on social media, and it turns out that there were a lot of people either affected by MS, or, who knew someone that was. Alternatively a lot of nasty people that just wanted to see me get cold!

When I realised that this was the case, (that there were a lot of people affected by MS) I contacted MS-UK to let them know what I was doing. They provided the shirt for me that I just about managed to squeeze into (too much turkey I think over Christmas).

At the time of publishing this, running total for funds raised is £195 plus gift aid, with some more pledges to come. So my big thank you goes to all those that sponsored me, thanks to the swimming club for making it happen (unofficially) and also to MS-UK for the chance to tell people about the work they do.

And just before it gets too late, ‘happy new year to you all’ and if you talk about doing something like this, follow it through, because the feeling is great (the cold isn’t).


Guest blog: Festive fundraising!

Posted on: December 20 2017

3.jpgSarah is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for MS-UK. Here she tells of how she raised funds for her marathon fundraising by holding a mince pie and mulled wine afternoon...

I am so happy to be running the London Marathon for MS-UK. The reason that I am running for MS-UK is because my sister has multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed over 10 years ago and she never seems to let it rule her even though I know some days she really does struggle but she won’t let it beat her. She truly does inspire me and when things are tough in my training I will think of her and it will really help keep me going. So, to get my fundraising started, I hosted a mulled wine and mince pie party at my home for my friends and family. The idea was that they would donate some money for the privilege. I thought it would be a great idea as Christmas is coming and what a fab reason to get together and raise some money whilst doing so.

2.jpgI also have a teddy which needs a name and a home for £1 entry. Everyone loved him/her and most definitely wanted to take it home. The draw will take place next week but has so far raised £26. I had also made a few bits of jewellery to sell which I made about £5. I also used the opportunity to sell some of my old Christmas decorations. These included Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet. These were in great condition but my children had out grown them, I got £7. It really was a really great afternoon and in total I raised £112.50.


Visit Sarah's fundraising page on JustGiving

Me and my lovely sister who has MS


Guest blog: Sophie's marathon tuck shop!

Posted on: December 12 2017

In 2018, Sophie Bury is running the Virgin Money London Marathon. In this guest blog, Sophie tells us all about running a tuck shop at work as part of her fundraising!

tuck-shop1.jpgTo raise money for MS-UK is something that I am really proud to do as we lost a very close friend of my dad’s to multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2013.

On 17 November I ran my first fundraising event at work and I decided to run a tuck shop, reminiscent of the ones you used to get a school, because who doesn’t love sweeties on a Friday! I’d had a few ideas for my first event but I wanted to run something that was easy to organise, fun and would include everyone.

photo1.jpgI enlisted the help of some very supportive colleagues and started selling at 11am, within 20 minutes the sweets had nearly sold out so we had to make a quick dash to Tesco to restock. It was really nice to see such a positive response so early on and I wanted to make a success of my first event. On our return with lots more sweets we carried on selling throughout the afternoon, with some really generous donations and comments about MS-UK. By 3pm it was a complete sell out, I was amazed at the response my tuck shop received and the kindness given from everyone in the office!

I decided to go for the old fashioned pick’n’mix type sweets and along with that I bought some pink pinstriped paper bags to sell them in. I spoke to our internal communication team about featuring my event in our weekly Huddle, made a poster to advertise the stand and got to work.

Running events can be daunting especially when it’s the first one and you’re doing it on your own. But the support received from my colleagues, friends and family has been so valuable and I’m really keen to make the tuck shop a regular event whilst I’m fundraising. My next event will be a Christmas themed bake sale on 15 December and I’m really excited to continue my fundraising for MS-UK.

Thank you,



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