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#TeamPurple virtual Heroes!

Posted on: November 27 2020

Charlotte Donna and Mim2.jpgWe were so disappointed for all of our #TeamPurple runners when it was announced that the Virgin Money London Marathon 2020 was postponed and then ultimately cancelled. However, we were blown away by the level of support from our runners, especially when the news broke that the Virgin Money London Marathon was going virtual for its 40th race.

After opening up our remaining virtual places to past runners and our runners’ friends and family, we had an amazing 100 people taking part on behalf of MS-UK!

On 04 October, they set out all around the UK and even some across the pond in Canada and the USA.

It was great to see how so many of our runners decided to make the event their own. Charlotte, Donna and Mim in Essex, decided to take on the challenge in fancy dress. They decided to run through the decades marking the start of the Virgin Money London Marathon.

They started in the 80s when the London Marathon began, before moving onto Ab Fab for loop three and were feeling magical in their Hogwarts get up as the progressed. They then ran around as various emoji’s before completing their run dressed as NHS staff to honour those who have been working around the clock over the past few months.

Alongside the creativity shown by our runners making their own finishing lines and having lined their routes with the London landmarks, some of #TeamPurple were invited to share their story on the BBC wall and on local radio stations which is truly incredible!

Of course, we cannot talk about the virtual event without sharing the experience of Jodey Hopcroft, who ended up covering a distance of 50 miles instead of the usual 26.2 miles due to a lack of signal for her tracking device. Despite the geological mishap, Jodey has stayed in good cheer and her story went viral after being interviewed by her local newspaper. Her story has since spread to various media outlets including Sky News and BBC, as well as other local and national radio stations and even made international news in India, Sweden and France to name a few. This led to a huge spike in donations to her JustGiving page – well done Jodey!

A huge thank you to all the runners and their friends and family for their continued support during this time, as a result of the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon #TeamPurple raised an additional £30,000!


Supporting the local community

Posted on: November 25 2020

Foodbank pic.jpgHi everyone,

Every year MS-UK looks for different ways we, as an organisation, can get involved and give back to our local community in Colchester, Essex.

Community is at the heart of everything we do as a charity. In the past, we have volunteered for other local charities, such as Wellies-On, a care farm that offers the therapeutic use of farming practices and we regularly collect donations for our local foodbank. Although this year the pandemic has prevented us from returning to these charities to lend a helping hand we have still created our usual Christmas collection for Colchester Foodbank.

Colchester Foodbank has been supporting people in the local area since 2008 and has increased the number of people it helps in the last year by 34%. It provides three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. It is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

Even more people than we could have imagined have experienced hardship this year as a result of the pandemic and the need for support is greater than ever, so if you are able, please search for you local foodbank or other charities supporting people in need in your area and give something back if you are able to. Click here to search for a foodbank near you.

Best wishes, 

Sarah-Jane Elliott

Communications Manager

Living with multiple sclerosis can sometimes leave you feeling lonely... This is Helen's story

Posted on: November 17 2020

Helen.jpgWhen I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at 23, I was so scared and lonely and in quite a dark place. It was a huge deal for me – I’d only been married for a year and was at the beginning of my career as a nurse. My parents took it very badly, and it was a big, big change for me.

Early on in my journey, I was prescribed antidepressants. They help keep me on an even keel.

Having MS, there are times when I feel very lonely. It doesn’t matter how many people I have around me, I can still feel very alone. Unless they have it too, your loved ones and friends don’t really understand what you’re going through.

Old friends worry about meeting up with me. They wonder how bad I will be – whether I’ll be able to walk or whether I’ll be in a wheelchair.

I do spend a lot of time at home alone, but my little dog helps me enormously. She’s like my shadow and my best friend. Having her, with her unconditional love, has helped me so much. Pets help so much when you’re lonely.

Knowing the MS-UK Helpline is there when I need to talk makes me feel supported.


Help stop loneliness this Christmas

This year MS-UK's Christmas appeal is raising money to support our helpline, which is here to support people living with MS when they need it most. Our research shows that 71% of people living with MS feel lonely or isolated because of their condition. By working together with MS-UK, you can help these people feel less alone this Christmas. 

Make a donation


Stop loneliness this Christmas

Posted on: November 13 2020

Did you know that 71% of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel lonely or isolated because of their condition? By working together with MS-UK, you can help these people feel less alone this Christmas.

MS affects around 130,000 people in the UK and 2.3 million people worldwide. Living with a long-term condition that people do not understand can make it hard to stay connected. It can be difficult to maintain independence and often people struggle to reach out and ask for the support they need as a result. This is why services like the MS-UK Helpline are so essential. But it wouldn’t exist without people like you.

MS-UK saw a 44% increase in calls to our helpline in the first month of lockdown alone and we continue to provide the MS community with essential information and emotional support when they need it most. As the Christmas period approaches, demand will be even higher and we need your support to ensure we can be here for as many people affected by MS as possible.

Our research has revealed that people with MS are often too scared to speak out about loneliness for fear of being viewed as a burden. People tell us they feel like a “viewer of the world, not a part of it,” and have “no one to share, communicate and laugh with, turn to, speak to and share worries with.” But with your continued help, MS-UK can be there for anyone who calls our Helpline to listen and provide them with much-needed emotional support.

This Christmas, by donating to the MS-UK Helpline you’ll help ensure no one has to face MS alone.

Donate to help stop loneliness



Why I set off on a 1,000-mile bike ride from Yorkshire to Vienna

Posted on: October 15 2020

Jo Goodall 6.JPGJo Goodall, MS-UK’s fundraiser of the month reveals why she set herself the challenge of a lifetime

Monday 10 August 2020 will forever be a memorable day for me, as that was the day I set off on a 1,000-mile bike ride from Yorkshire to Vienna, on my own.

You might be wondering, quite rightly, “Why on earth would you want to do that?” And when I reflect on my achievement, I do sometimes wonder what possessed me to pack up my bike and set off on a solo journey across a continent, which took me from the UK over to the Netherlands, through Germany and into Austria. 

The 18-day trip saw me cycle, on average, 70 miles a day through some of the most amazing scenery, tracking alongside the Rivers Rhine and Danube.

I undertook this challenge and adventure for a number of reasons. Firstly, I actually had another cycling trip planned and booked for the summer, however because of the Coronavirus pandemic that had to be cancelled. Instead of just accepting that, sitting back, and doing nothing, as soon as the European borders started to open and the situation had calmed down slightly, I set about planning this trip.

Ever since October 2019, I had wanted to visit Vienna, as it was in that city that Eliud Kipchoge, arguably the greatest marathon runner of all time, completed a sub-two-hour marathon. As a marathon runner myself, I can really relate to just how ridiculously quick that is and how incredible that achievement was. I remember watching him sprinting to the finish line and shedding a tear as Kipchoge achieved a sports milestone given almost mythical status in the running world, breaking through a temporal barrier that many would have deemed untouchable only a few years ago.

Instead of flying to Vienna, I decided my own challenge would be to cycle to the very spot that Kipchoge completed his incredible achievement.

Along the way, I kept a daily blog, mostly to keep my parents informed as to where I was and what had happened that day. The blog, however, picked up some momentum, and soon it was clear that it was more than just Mum and Dad who were reading and enjoying it.

I received an overwhelming amount of support, kind and motivating words from so many people that I knew this journey and adventure wasn’t just for me. I knew I could achieve so much more by harnessing the power of this small community I had inadvertently Jo Goodall 5.JPGcreated. On my penultimate day of riding, I set up my JustGiving page for MS-UK and within a few days raised £1,000. That total now sits at around £1,700, which I am so proud of.

MS-UK is a charity that is very close to my heart. I first got involved with the charity in 2014 when I ran The London Marathon. A very special lady, Mrs B, who has sadly passed away now, lived with multiple sclerosis so I know how devastating the illness can be. She has a very special place in my heart and she doesn’t know it, but I was riding my bike for all those people, like her, who are not able to.

Here is the link to my website which has my full, day by day blog of the trip. I hope you enjoy reading it – please leave a comment if you do!

If you’ve been inspired by Jo’s fundraising adventure, visit


What Will be your legacy?

Posted on: October 15 2020

Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager at MS-UK explains how leaving something on your will makes an incredible difference iStock-175196412.jpg

Leaving a gift in your Will is an incredible way for you to help MS-UK plan for the future, pass on a gift to the next generation and ensure that no one has to face MS alone.

Every gift, no matter what size will have a huge impact on our services for years to come.

Events this year may have made you think more about how to make sure that the people and causes that mean the most to you are looked after. After you have looked after your family and friends we’d be incredibly grateful if you would consider leaving a gift to MS-UK.

Why leave a gift? 

By putting people affected by MS at the heart of our work, we can make sure that every person who leaves us a legacy is honoured in the right way. We are an independent charity so we never accept funding that may jeopardise our ability to act in the best interests of people affected by MS. By leaving a gift in a Will to MS-UK, people hand down their legacy to the next generation. We could not be here for people affected by MS without this support.

Making a Will

We know that it can be difficult to know where to begin when writing or updating a Will, so here's some information about getting started which we hope you find useful. It's important to remember you do not need to face this alone and by speaking to a legal professional you can be supported through this process. By having a Will you will provide security for your loved ones. A Will is a legally binding document, so you can have peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out.

Legal advice

Making a will is a straight forward process. The first step is to seek support from a qualified solicitor or a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters to help you get started. You can always take a family member or friend with you to appointments. A simple Will can cost between £144 and £240. If you have a more complex Will or require specialist services, the cost can go up to about £600. It really does depend on your individual circumstances, but you can compare quotes from a few solicitors before going ahead with anything.

What our clients say…

Our mission is to improve understanding of multiple sclerosis and provide support where it is needed most. Every gift that is left means we can offer our services to more people.

“For over 18 years (since being diagnosed with MS) of this journey, New Pathways has been like a friend by my side.”

Our counselling service gave hundreds of telephone sessions to people across the UK

“You just understand how I’m feeling.”

Every legacy we receive helps make this work possible. 

“You have got me through some dark times. I hope you will be around for many more years.”

Last year we answered hundreds of enquiries through our helpline. Every time we picked up the phone, we were able to be here for someone affected by MS.

Get in touch:

To find out more about leaving a legacy to MS-UK please contact our Fundraising Manger Jill Purcell via email at or on 01206226500


Have you got a story to share?

Posted on: September 29 2020

Nigel Bartram pic.jpgMSer Nigel Bartram’s on a mission to make people laugh, and he needs YOUR help

I’m Nigel Bartram and I am a bit of a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) physical car crash but, thankfully, I still have my marbles and ability to enjoy life.

I was diagnosed with primary progressive MS in 2009 and the following year, my wife and I were on short cruise when I got into a smuttily funny predicament caused by the MS. You can read about it here 

and so the genesis of an idea was born, how about a funny book about things which have happened to people with MS, precisely because of their MS, albeit often in retrospect?

As well as giving much-needed laughs, maybe it could raise money for MS charities. So I wrote up the first story and found a young artist to illustrate it. The book is titled MS a Funny Thing (well sometimes).   

Later that year, I attended a week-long Overcoming MS retreat, during which I floated the book idea to the two facilitating doctors, one an MSer, a consultant psychiatrist, the other a globally renowned mindfulness authority. They loved it, knowing how every bit of joie de vivre is important for our mental wellbeing. You can read their endorsements on the website. I’m truly delighted that MS-UK are now supporting the endeavour too.

I need your help

N Bartram.jpgAll royalties from the book will go to a small group of MS charities, including MS-UK who have helped me a lot over the years with their brilliant New Pathways magazine. To make the book happen though, I need more funny stuff, which is where you come in! A pound to a penny something funny (or bizarre) has befallen you because of your MS, and I want to hear about it. It could form a story (which I’m very happy to write up for you if you prefer) or a poem. All works will be illustrated by a professional artist. As a bonus

  • MS-UK will receive £50 for each of the first 10 book contributions accepted and
  • If you’re one of the 10, you’ll get a £25 Amazon voucher, or can donate the sum to MS-UK

So please, get scribbling, or just tell me you have an idea. Either way, please email me at If you want to see some of the stories to date, visit

We and those around us need all the laughs we can get and MS-UK needs funds, so let’s make it happen!

Fundraiser of the month

Posted on: September 23 2020

Setting herself a mammoth challenge, Rhona Kingett completed her own accessible marathon

Rhona Kingett pic.jpgAs I looked through my emails one day, I came across one about of doing a virtual marathon for MS-UK. It suggested taking a challenge for 26 days, or 26 times, or anything relating to the 26 miles of a marathon, due to the postponement of the Virgin Money London Marathon.,

When young I was a bit of a long distance runner. Never to the extent of running marathons though! I actually put my energies into dancing rather than running, and I became a professional actor, dancer and musician. Unfortunately as my career progressed taking me upwards, the multiple sclerosis (MS) progressed and took me downwards. The MS won and it overtook the work.

I tried to think of how I could get the virtual marathon idea to work for an MS-UK fundraiser. My MS has moved onto secondary progressive about three years ago. I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 1994. My legs no longer support me and I get hoisted between the bed and my wheelchair. I have bad spasms and I’m supposed to do all sorts of physio exercises but there are so many and my body doesn't do what I tell it to do.

Somehow I let these exercises slip. Then it suddenly struck me how I could do a virtual marathon that would help both me and the charity. I would ask people to sponsor me to do my physio exercises on each of the 26 consecutive days. My husband (my full-time carer) would be making sure that I really do them. The hope being that, once I’d fitted the exercises into my daily routine, I would continue with them.

I sent the link for the sponsorship out on Facebook and Twitter. When money started being pledged by people I realised that I had to do what I had said I would do. But after a number of days, I found that there were certain movements that became easier to do – indeed I increased the number of repetitions of some. That was another encouragement. It made things easier for me and also for my husband. More encouragement.

I sent updates to my social media contacts. Some of these shared them, either electronically or just verbally, which led to further sponsorship donations. 
I was pleased to see the money coming in, and therefore the amount available for MS-UK to use, going up. Not just because it showed what supportive friends I have (I knew that) but because I knew it meant MS-UK could give more support and information to people and families who have had the news that ‘the MS monster’ has come into their lives.

To contribute to Rhona’s fundraiser, click here

All dressed up and nowhere to go…

Posted on: September 11 2020

Gregg Rice Photo low rice.jpgThis evening we should have been getting ready for a night to remember at MS-UK’s annual Summer Ball.

It should have been a busy week for the fundraising team assembling prizes donated by many generous donors and businesses for our raffle and auction and getting all the finishing touches ready for a very special evening.

Each year we welcome around 150 lovely supporters for an evening of fine dining, fun and great entertainment in glamorous style at the luxurious Le Talbooth in Dedham, Essex near MS-UK’s home town of Colchester.

Every year, this black-tie event raises thousands of pounds for MS-UK so we can continue our work supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis.

Last June, we raised over £16,000 at our Summer Ball which is enough to fund our national helpline for over six weeks, providing vital information and emotional support to empower anyone that needs it.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and like many other events, the ball has been cancelled this year. This is a huge shame for both our guests who are missing a great night out and our fundraising.  

If you would like to make a donation to our urgent appeal to help us at this difficult time, we would be most grateful. You can donate at

One day we shall go to the ball and we are already looking forward to making the MS-UK Ball the biggest and best ever in 2021.

The date planned for 2021 is Friday 17 September 2021. If you would like to find out more information about the event please contact me on 01206 226500 or email

Thank you for your continued support.

Stay safe and well,


MS-UK Fundraising Manager

“My daddy gave me a massive hug and told me so many people are proud of me!”

Posted on: August 18 2020

Meet Amber, our six-year-old Fundraiser of the month who’s just climbed SnowdoniaAmber Holmes.jpg

We were sat one day watching the Disney film Abominable where they eventually have to climb Mount Everest. “Can we climb Everest?” I asked my dad. He said, “You need to be a bit older and Daddy needs to be a bit fitter – why don’t we climb Mount Snowdon in Wales as a start?” I said, “This sounds like a great idea, let’s choose a weekend right now!" I knew I had to do some walks around Chelmsford to train and so the week before I walked eight miles in my boots for practice. 

When the weekend came, the weather was perfect! I was very excited and a bit nervous but knew I had to complete the task as so many people were supporting me.

The climb was steeper than we expected but we gritted our teeth and sometimes I had to use my hands to climb as well. It took two hours and 20minutes to get to the top. I was so happy to get there. I took a picture with my MS-UK jersey to show how proud I was.

We ate our lunch and then set off down the hill. On the way down the sheep kept making us laugh as they would stand on the train tracks and not move even when the train came.

Amber Holmes 2.jpgI had two falls on the way down where I cut my hands and knees but I knew I had to carry on. It took an hour and 50 minutes to get down, so in total it was four hours 10 minutes. My daddy gave me a massive hug and told me so many people are proud of me! I got a marshmallow ice cream at the finish.

My grandad had multiple sclerosis (MS) for 22 years and had such courage. Unfortunately, he passed away last October and I miss him a lot. I wanted to do something to make him proud and carry on his memory. I did it for MS-UK as they supported him and my family. They do wonderful things for people with MS. We managed to raise over £3,000 and are very thankful to all the people that cheered us on this very difficult task.

If you would like to take on your own challenge like Amber, and help to raise vital funds for MS-UK, then get in touch with Lucy on

To help Amber with her fundraising, click this link