A big congratulations to all the UK businesses who celebrated their fundraising success at the MS-UK 925 Challenge awards night on 28 November! Together they rasied over £14,500 for the charity!
Now in its second year, the challenge saw companies take part in a race against time to raise £925 in nine weeks, two days, and five hours.
Ready and raring to go, Essex-based print, design and mailing company, Direct Solutions, spead off into the lead and were the first to raise the target, and went on to raise the most money overall, totalling £2,118.
Other teams that took part include 4 Networking, Chameleon International Search Ltd, Click4Assistance Ltd, Green Square, Hart Wilcox Experiential Marketing, HSBC, Natwest, Scrutton Bland, Women In Business Neworking and Wivenhoe House Hotel. All of the teams were congratulated and thanked for their hard work at an awards ceremony at Marks Tey Hotel on Thursday 28 November.
Commenting on their win, Louise Parkes, Digital Marketing Executive at Direct Solutions said: ‘We took part in the 925 Challenge for MS-UK for the second year and were absolutely delighted to take home the trophy for the fastest team to raise the £925 and for the most money raised overall.
‘The challenge is such a creative and clever way of fundraising against the clock, add in the competitive elements between local and national businesses and you have a recipe for success!’
Sasha Mills from HSBC said, ‘MS-UK is a charity that is very close to my heart following my husband’s diagnosis in 2017. Since being introduced to MS-UK they have provided invaluable support through various means such as mindfulness courses, its wellness centre Josephs Court and the social events they put on so that we can meet other families living with MS.
‘When I heard about the 925 Challenge I was keen to get involved and enter a team from HSBC UK, as not only are they important to me personally, they are also a client of HSBC UK. I wanted to get involved to help support MS-UK not only by raising money but also awareness. MS is a condition that affects so many people, it is important to spread the word about the fantastic work the charity does. The 925 Challenge was great fun and it was a great way to have some fun and team building in the office with our pumpkin carving competition and bingo!’
Lots of fun was had by all 13 companies, with leg waxing, curry and karaoke nights, banner offers, ice bucket challenges, bake sales and much more taking place to raise the money. Lots of teamwork and creative thinking was required to come up with the winning ideas, with the motivational boost of helping people with MS.
Thanking everyone for their support MS-UK Fundraising Manager, Jill Purcell said: ‘It was lovely to see so many companies at the awards event last night. A huge well done to all the teams and congratulations to those that took away a trophy. Your efforts will help us to continue supporting people with multiple sclerosis to live happier and healthier lives.’
There were a number of awards up for grabs for this challenge and these are the winners of the different catagories:
Team Spirit Award
Awarded to Click4Assistance Ltd.
Alison Deal (Women in Business Networking)
Best Photo / Video
Hart Wilcox Experiential Marketing
Most Innovative Idea
Quirkiest Fundraising Idea
Most Unlikely Hero
Chris Ives (4Networking)
Most Money Raised
First Team To Raise £925
There are only 22 days left until Christmas and, if you’re anything like us here at MS-UK, you’ll be wondering what on earth to buy for your loved ones.
If that’s the case, listen up. Today is known as Cyber Monday, a term coined in the US for when retailers have huge online sales in a bid to get us all clicking and, if you plan to nab some bargains, you could help raise money for MS-UK at no extra cost – what’s not to love?
Retail giant Amazon runs a scheme called Amazon Smile and, if you sign up and choose MS-UK as your nominated charity, they will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) to our charity, providing MS-UK is selected as the beneficiary.
This means that by just shopping normally, you will be generating money that allows us to continue to help people with MS live happier and healthier lives, through our services such as the MS-UK helpline, Counselling, New Pathways magazine and our wellness centre Josephs Court.
How to sign up
1) Log onto https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1033731-0 using your usual Amazon log in details
2) This will take you to a screen where you can search and select MS-UK as your chosen charity
3) Start shopping!
This guest blog is from Poppy Storey, aged seven, from Kent, who did the Tough Mudder with her brother Heath. Poppy’s mother, Helaina, is running the Virgin Money London Marathon 2020 for MS-UK too. The Storeys really are a force to be reckoned with!
My name is Poppy. My brother Heath and I raised £420 towards Mummy’s goal by doing a Tough Mudder. We had to run and go over lots of obstacles and we got really, really muddy!
I wanted to raise money for MS-UK so my Nanny can get better. My Nanny is really kind. I want everyone with multiple sclerosis (MS) to be happy and get well soon.
My favourite obstacle was the tunnel because going through it was really fun and it was like I ended up at a different place at the other end. It was really mysterious!
I didn’t really like the monkey bars as much because they were really hard to go on and Heath had to lift me and my hands were so muddy they kept slipping off, so it didn’t work. My little sister Imogen ran round everywhere with us but not in the track, obviously. She ran next to us at every obstacle and she was very excited.
A really funny part was when I couldn’t feel my legs because all the mud went into my trousers because when we went on Mud Mountain, every time I went down the hill I fell down into the water and started to float and it felt really weird.
One of the obstacles, Everest, was funny because I kept slipping down it and I got some mud in my eye when Heath tried to pull me up. He poked me in the eye with his muddy hand and Mummy poured water into my eye and scooped it out with her finger! Mummy said I was so brave and we got a treat at the end which was a sherbet ice cream and it was really sour.
At the end we got hosed off at the water station and my trousers were so heavy I couldn’t walk to the car!
Mummy told her friends to sponsor us and our school put it in the newsletter so our friends could sponsor us too. Daddy said we did such a good job and he donated another fifty pounds!
It was really fun and I was actually very surprised how much money we raised. We loved our MS-UK vests and even Mummy has one with her name on for the marathon. Go Team Purple!
I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2010 and was pretty much directed to use the services of the MS Society by the NHS Neurology department. Their help was very much appreciated at the time as MS was all new for me.
Now, although I still have a lot of respect for the work and the people of the MS Society, I find that I want a more active life than their local members seemed to have. I wanted ‘To live life to the full’, which is pretty much MS-UK’s slogan - as I was about to find out.
I discovered MS-UK by chance while searching the web for more information on MS and as luck would have it, their head office just happened to be down the road at the Hythe in Colchester - another big plus in their favour from my point of view as transport could become a problem in the future.
The MS-UK premises boasts a fully-equipped wellness centre for people with MS and other neurological conditions, and I began using the specialist facilities (mainly exercise bikes) under the guidance of their wellness coach, Allan Pearson. The exercise helps prevent muscle problems that would otherwise occur with lack of use, as well as helping my brain to keep active.
Another benefit of attending the MS-UK gym is that it also promotes friendship with fellow MSers, although each person’s symptoms are unique to them.
The camaraderie with other MSers is further enhanced with regular events, coffee mornings, 10-pin bowling and other get-togethers, as well as with special opportunities, such as marathons, sponsored skydiving and aeroplane wing-walking!
There always seems to be something happening somewhere with an MS-UK logo on it as a way to raise money for the charity.
Additionally, MS-UK has a helpline staffed by fully qualified people, with direct experience of MS, offering strictly confidential on any subject over the phone.
MS-UK also hosts information sessions on different topics and invites companies and charities offering specific help on that topic, recently Age Concern and Mobility came in to offer information.
Fundraising for MS-UK’
With all this wealth of MS-related help practically on my doorstep, what’s not going to make me want to raise a few pounds to help MS-UK, which also gives me some purpose in life and is very important to me.
Up until my diagnosis with MS, I was an active bass guitarist in a few bands playing anything from Jazz to Blues to Pop. None of these bands you’ll have heard of but it was a passion of mine for over 25 years. This is what started the making of Virtuosity in aid of MS-UK.
Although I can no longer play the guitar myself, the one thing that MS will never take away from me is my passion for quality music. Promoting live music events wouldn’t be too time-constrained either, so I could take my time to set up live performances and make use of my experience and contacts in the industry.
Could this be the fundraising opportunity that I was looking for? I had to try it to find out.
In 2017, I decided to set about organising my first live music event and called it ‘Virtuosity in aid of MS-UK’ as it featured three of the best musicians that I’d ever played with: Chris Allard, Ramon Goose and Daryl Kellie. It took place at Colchester Arts Centre, whose director has a disabled daughter and therefore some empathy with the MS-UK cause. I donated all the profits to MS-UK as a thank you for their services to me in the past.
The following year, I discovered an Australian musician on social media called Geoff Achison and was pleased to find out that he had a tour of the UK lined up with some session musicians from West London that I had been fortunate enough to jam with in the past. I had no hesitation in booking Geoff Achison and the Souldiggers, with support from the very talented and once local solo blues guitarist Martin McNeill. As this was likely to be a major gig, I also got the audio-visual department at Colchester Institute involved to come and make a video of the performance, which they were pleased to do as part of their project work.
While keeping my eyes open for exciting new acts, at the beginning of 2019, I came across the incredible voice of a young lady named Helen Connelly.
‘That’s someone I’ve got to promote in another Virtuosity event’ - I thought!
The only problem was that Helen’s regular guitarist wasn’t available for the date I had in mind at Wivenhoe Bowls Club (a new local venue that I also wanted to promote) but, not to be put off, I asked my old friend and jazz guitarist Chris Allard if he would step in to help out. To complete the evening’s entertainment, I enlisted the services of Polly Haynes, a local singer/songwriter and a fantastic performer in her own right.
Lessons learned and overall satisfaction
It would be fair to say that I ran into a few problems along the way that I’ve needed help from MS-UK and others with. Everyone has to learn from their experience though, and each day with MS is a new experience to learn from.
The overall satisfaction that I’ve had from putting on these events and finally accepting the MS-UK certificate of fundraising for all my hard work has made it all well worth the effort.
Unfortunately, one of my MS symptoms was paraesthesia of the lower arms and hands, taking away the use of my fingers for manual work and stopping me playing the guitar completely. This was accompanied by other MS symptoms of chronic fatigue, poor memory and cognitive problems, which meant that whatever I did would take a lot longer to achieve than for a normal person, but I did it!
Andy raised £158.32 from his latest Virtuosity event for MS-UK – Thank you, Andy!
Danny Holland, one of our clients at our wellness centre, Josephs Court, has helped MS-UK year on year since 2016 with a sponsored head and beard shave to raise money to help people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
‘This is something simple I can do to, at the very least, to help raise money for my charity.’
‘I myself have MS so I can understand how much pain and discomfort others are going through. That's why I want to help them by raising money for MS-UK and by doing so, it gives me a great feeling of happiness.’
‘I participate in the hair and beard shaving challenge to raise money and I also have a very close friend of mine who helps in collecting the money.’
Danny raised £112.38 this year, bringing his grand total raised so far up to £396.72! This money helps us to run Josephs Court, which supports people with MS to maintain their wellbeing and live independently.
If you would like to raise money for MS-UK our dedicated fundraising team are always on hand to help. We have had people raise money in lots of different ways, from sitting in a tub of baked beans to skydiving! Simply call Lucy on 01206 226500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, how has this year gone for you? Have you been extra good and put smiles on everyone’s faces, or have you been more on the naughty side? We want to know if you think you are on Father Christmas’s Naughty or Nice list this year and give you a chance to donate to celebrate your niceness or redeem yourself for being naughty with a donation to MS-UK! Or do you know someone who is worthy of the Nice or Naughty list that you could nominate? It’s up to you!
Whether you donate £1 or £1,000, we hope that you get a lovely warm feeling from knowing that you are helping us to support people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). Our charity is hard at work improving the lives of people with MS through counselling, our helpline, our wellness centre Josephs Court and through working to increase understanding of MS. MS-UK does not accept any statutory or pharmaceutical funding so that we can stay independent and offer completely unbiased information and support. This means every penny donated really will make a difference to our work.
It’s time to decide – naughty or nice? Tell us how you or someone you would like to nominate has been this year and with a donation, however small or large, their name will be on the MS-UK Nice List this Christmas. Just visit our JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/campaign/NaughtyorNice
Thank you for everything you do to support us – you make all of our work possible!
In this guest blog, Lyndsay Killick from The White Hart in West Bergholt, Essex gives this year’s 925 Challenge teams her advice.
Hi all, its Lyndsay here from The White Hart in West Bergholt! Hopefully, if you’re taking part in the 925 Challenge at least one of the MS-UK team members will have mentioned us and how brilliant we are already, haha!
In 2018 I decided to give the MS-UK 925 Challenge a go for personal reasons.
As a child growing up, my dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and it had a massive impact on all our family’s lives. For many years, we as a family fundraised and I thought it was about time to do it again. So we signed up!
Little did I know at the time that we, a small country pub, would be up against some major corporate companies. The pressure was well and truly on!
We organised a game called ‘Pennies for Pounds’ and our customers got well and truly carried away. So much so that we got three or four boards completed really quickly!
We then held a raffle for an alcohol hamper, but my main event was the Auction of Promises. This proved to be an amazing fundraiser and being in a village, we were lucky enough to get our whole community engaged and involved. Customers and local business jumped on board and donated their time and services to be auctioned off. We had so many different types of auction lots, from an hours’ worth of ironing and freshly home baked scones, to free swimming lessons, dog walking and even a chance to fly in a two seater plane, plus football season tickets, a day’s shooting trip – the list was endless!
The evening was a huge success and we raised just over £4,000. I was absolutely overwhelmed at how the whole village dug deep and pulled together. It made me quite emotional. Our target was obviously to raise £925 in 9 weeks, 5 days and 2 hours but in total we raised an impressive £6,000 and definitely gave the big coproates a run for their money! I really can’t express to you how proud we all felt and how much fun we had smashing through that target.
Keep going guys and girls, every penny will make a massive difference and no matter what you raise you are all heroes!
In this guest blog our October Fundraiser of the Month, Dan Young, tells us about how he raised an amazing £870 for MS-UK by walking the length of the River Thames this summer...
On 12 August, I set off to walk the length of the River Thames from the source in Kemble, Gloucester to the Thames Barrier.
When planning to do the walk, I decided to do it in memory of my Gran who had passed away after living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and as such, chose to raise money for MS-UK.
The route is 184 miles mainly following the Thames Path and at about 16 miles a day, I expected it take 12 days of walking through the summer heat. However, the British weather did not fail to disappoint. The first week poured with rain and in the second week, the temperature rose to 30C at its peak.
The weather made it harder than it already was. The long walks without seeing anyone were tough. I could walk 10 miles in the Oxfordshire countryside with only cows for company so when I finally saw another person I instantly wanted to talk to them!
Speaking of animals, they can be stubborn when they want to be. I had a number of situations with cows and sheep refusing to move out of my way, which left a dip in the Thames my only option at times. They were mostly harmless though and it was nice to roam through the fields and hills in the countryside and enjoy the long walks.
The scenery changed as I approached Reading and towards Central London. It was quite a relief to start walking on actual paths rather than cuttings in the grass as my feet started to feel every lump and bump in my path.
As I got into Central London, I soon turned into a tourist, walking past the Houses of Parliament and crossing the river to walk past the almighty Shard.
The end stretch from Tower Bridge to the Thames Barrier was the toughest! At this point, there were only 10 miles left but my feet were not in the best state. The area around the O2 gives little shade apart from the reflection of the sun off the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf but I pushed through. I finished at the Thames Barrier, 11 days and four hours after starting and had raised an amazing £870!
I am absolutely thrilled that I’ve stepped forward (no pun intended) and done it!
I’ve already started to plan my next adventure but for now, I’ll put my feet up…
Has Dan inspired you? Get in touch with Lucy if you would like to take on a challenge to raise money to help people affected by MS. Email email@example.com or call 01206 226500. You can donate to Dan’s cause via his JustGiving page.
One of our Community Champions, Gwynfa Podgorski, reveals how rare coins found in MS-UK collection pots can raise more funds than their face value might suggest. As a Community Champion, Gwynfa hands out MS-UK collection pots to local shops and collects the funds for our charity.
Who would have thought a 50p coin with Jemima Puddleduck on it could earn £9 for MS-UK?
Having read somewhere about certain coins being worth more than their face value I decided it was time to check my change. Having been a Community Champion for a few months now, counting money out of the MS-UK pots I have in local stores has become second nature. Much to my surprise, I have found several commemorative 50p coins in there. Battle of Hastings, any Olympics ones, Benjamin Britten, Peter Rabbit, Paddington Bear, basically any 50p coin which celebrates events over the years are all potentially worth more than their face value. Checking possible value on eBay (most sell for £1-£2) I decided Jemima could be worth rather more than 50p. Indeed, she has a new home with a buyer in Wales and after paying fees to eBay, PayPal and Postage, MS-UK has an extra £9 instead of the 50p coin someone kindly put in the pot. When I find any foreign coins in a pot I take them to my local Scope Charity shop who collect them and sell them on when they have enough.
If any of you find similar and would like to try to sell them for additional funds for MS-UK I am happy to help with advice on how to or even doing the selling.
To get in touch with Gwynfa or become a Community Champion contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Community Fundraiser Ian Robertson tells us about his experience with setting up a Lottery Bonus Ball at work to raise money for MS-UK.
Having run multiple marathons for charity in the past, I wanted to find a new way to raise funds with friends and family, so this year I have set up a Lottery Bonus Ball draw. It’s simple, easy to set up, run and gives people a chance to win some cash while raising funds to help people living with multiple sclerosis. It’s a win-win!
The basics are that people select a number between 1 and 59, and if that is drawn as the UK National Lottery Bonus Ball, the person who has chosen that number wins the prize pot (excluding a 20% charity donation). Simple!
If you don’t have 59 players, then no problem. If no one has selected the Bonus Ball number for that draw, the prize fund rolls over to the next draw.
To set up a Bonus Ball draw, just follow the below steps.
I asked the players to pay for five weeks (10 draws) at a time. This reduces the hassle of collecting money every week and made the charity share calculation nice and easy (as with a 20% charity share, £1.00 goes to charity from each person’s £5.00 entry).
All you need to do is either let the players choose their number (on a first come first serve basis) or get them to draw an available number from a hat. Then they keep that number going forward.
Each Monday and Thursday, I check the bonus ball drawn in the main lottery draw and if someone has chosen that number they win the prize pot. If no one has chosen the number, the prize pot rolls over into the next draw.
The other rule we have is that new people can only join the syndicate immediately after someone has won, but before the next draw.
I’ve been running my syndicate at work for three months and so far we’ve shared out over £180.00 between three winners. We have raised £75.00 for MS-UK! With just 21 players, by the end of the year, this will have added more than £200.00 to my fundraising total.
If you need help setting up your big money balls at work, you can email Lucy via email@example.com or call 01206 226500.