I moved to London in 2016 and I wanted to get involved with and volunteer for multiple sclerosis (MS) charities.
I was diagnosed with MS in 2013 and I wanted to do something positive. I knew the Virgin Money London Marathon was around the corner, I wanted to be involved with the event. I contacted MS-UK and they were more than happy to take me on as a volunteer, I assisted the runners to make their way to the post-race reception.
Since then I have been asked to volunteer at a couple of other events, cheering on the participants for events such as the Royal Parks Half and RideLondon.
The MS-UK team are great and very welcoming, it gives me a chance to do something positive and meet new people.
Now in 2018, I have signed up to run for them in the Virgin Money London Marathon, I was even asked to do a little talk about my marathon experiences.
I would highly recommend joining their volunteer team!
Fiona Sakal, who has been a Trustee of MS-UK for over decade, recently joined us in the office for a week to see what we do to support people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) on a daily basis. We couldn't resist asking for an interview, and we started off with a 'two truths and a lie' question...
Two truths and a lie…
I was born and raised in Germany
I qualified for the Olympic Equestrian team
I was Cabin Crew, based at London Heathrow
Read on to find out all about Fiona…
I joined the board of MS-UK in 2007, when we were still MSRC and working from Peartree Industrial Estate with three car parking spaces, one toilet and not enough windows. My brother-in-law had MS for 24 years and although I was not fortunate enough to meet him, the impact his condition had on the rest of the family remains, so I was delighted to be asked to join the Board of Trustees.
Obviously, I was full of enthusiasm and committed to running the Virgin Money London Marathon the following spring! I definitely did not take into account the enormity of the training schedule that had to fit in alongside my final law exams, a full house renovation and a wedding. Ten years later and
I am almost ready to commit again, but not quite!
When Peter and I married in 2008 we decided that we would like to raise money for the charity rather than receive gifts. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of family, friends and clients and with the help of Roger Dakin and a game of heads and tails at our wedding reception, we raised £12,000.
Fast forward 11 years and two little girls, I am still as passionate about MS-UK as ever and love to get involved wherever possible. Under the leadership of Amy, the charity has grown to such an extent that I was beginning to need a flow chart to understand how everything fit together and wasn’t confidant that I was able to contribute effectively as a trustee. So here I am!
I have really enjoyed my ‘work experience’ and have found it invaluable to get to know everybody and experience first-hand what each role entails, both in the office and at Josephs Court. The atmosphere is very warm and welcoming and it is clear that everyone has a real passion for what they do. I am incredibly proud to represent MS-UK and excited to see what we can achieve in the future.
So, what was the lie?
I qualified for the Olympic Equestrian team!
Over the next couple of weeks, people across the country will hear from Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 about whether or not they got a ballot place. I can just imagine the thousands of lucky people who will get a 'yes' and start planning their big day out in the capital.
But as over 80,000 people applied for a ballot place, there will also be some disappointment…but do not worry! You can still be part of the action as a member of the MS-UK team!
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 starts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park then follows closed roads through the city and Surrey before finishing on The Mall. On Sunday 29 July we’ll be heading to London to cheer on #TeamPurple, and that could include you!
Not only will you take on 100 miles, but you’ll be helping us support even more people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). When someone calls the MS-UK Helpline to ask a question about managing bladder and bowel problems, your efforts mean we can pick up the phone. When someone reads an article about a complementary therapy in New Pathways that could help with fatigue, you could be the reason the magazine lands on their doormat.
Now, it must be time for the song…
Jenny Poulter, Events Fundraiser
MS-UK were over the moon to receive a phone call back in March from Marks & Spencer Colchester saying that we had been selected as their charity of the year for 2017/18. Each year the store raises approximately £4,000 for good causes!
Staff nominate local good causes and a vote is cast to decide which charity the store is set to support. Staff picked MS-UK to show support for one of their store managers who is living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and coupled with the fact that MS-UK is local to Colchester – it was a clear winner!
Patrick Ablett and Zowie Guymer came to visit MS-UK to see first hand the services we provide to anyone affected by multiple sclerosis.
Patrick said, ‘I wish I had known about MS-UK when I had first been diagnosed, I had so many questions going through my mind. Seeing the centre for the first time gave me some light at the end of the tunnel, what a great team.’
MS-UK is a small national charity who supports anyone affected by MS. Locally Josephs Court, our wellness centre, offers specialised equipment which enables people living with MS to benefit from a tailored exercise programme which focuses on individual’s specific needs. The centre is much more than a gym, it provides a supportive environment for people living with MS who are facing similar challenges as well as being a great social hub too.
MS-UK also provides a helpline and publishes a magazine called New Pathways, both of which are available to anyone affected by MS. We support people emotionally and provide our clients with the information they need to make choices that are right for them so they can live life to the full.
Marks & Spencer Colchester will be raising money for MS-UK by having collection tins at the till points throughout the year as well as hosting a range of events and they have already raised over £500!
This Saturday there was a sponsored cycle in store, and a team of Marks & Spencer staff cycled their hearts out to raise awareness for the charity and raised over £560!
Staff and volunteers from MS-UK also joined in by offering shoppers a bag packing service in return for a small donation.
Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager at MS-UK says ‘We are delighted to be working with Marks & Spencer Colchester. It’s fantastic to raise awareness of our brilliant charity locally as well as raising vital funds. MS-UK does not receive any government or pharmaceutical funding and we rely solely on our supporters to deliver our vital services to anyone affected by MS.’
Hello everyone, Yesterday (Sunday 30 July) we cheered our hearts out to support the dedicated cyclists who pedalled 100 miles for the Prudential RideLondon, and it was an amazing afternoon!
You can check out the photos on Facebook now!
Huge congratulations are in order for our MS-UK team who have trained so hard for the past months in all types of weather, cycling to conquer this prestigious event. We were so proud to see them all with a smile on their face as they went past our cheering point and on to the finish line in style.
The total funds raised so far have reached over the £2,000 mark and counting. This is a huge achievement and an amount that our riders have been working tirelessly to raise. We hope they all had a well-earned break after the race and they aren’t too achey today!
For most of the fundraising team it was our first time seeing the event and we thoroughly enjoyed the day, cheering on our riders with our megaphones and rapper clappers from our cheering point on Whitehall.
We couldn’t support our MS-UK teams in the way that we do without our super volunteers, so here’s a massive thank you to them too! We are really lucky to have some regular key volunteers at our events, and it just wouldn’t be the same without them. We always need volunteers for events to help them run smoothly.
Of course, we’re opening applications for next year’s event straight away. So if you’re interested in cycling the Prudential RideLondon, get in touch with me by email or call on 01206 226500 and secure your place now!
Well done again to everyone who took part,
Events Fundraiser, MS-UK
Today we will be heading to the capital to cheer on our amazing RideLondon team as they cycle 100 miles in aid of MS-UK. In this guest blog, Paul Reeve tells us why he's taking on the challenge...
I’m Paul and I’m riding for MS-UK in the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 today!
I started dabbling with a bit of cycling about 6 years ago after I’d given up playing squash. It all started with poodling about on Ashtead common on a mountain bike doing no more than a few miles at a time. Then came the bi-weekly pub cycle, again just a few miles. After a while the distances grew and I tried a few Sportives, the first being 33 miles of London Bridges. As I got to a 50 mile one I borrowed a hybrid from a friend for some training and couldn’t believe the difference so that was soon followed by a hit to the credit card. After that I did the London Nightrider in 2013 which was a real test as it’s through the night. For someone who needs his sleep like I do I have no idea how easily I managed this ride. In 2015 I rode to Paris with my Son on a totally self-managed ride, choosing the shortest route available of course. By then I’d got bike no.3 – a road bike, something I never intended, much like all the clothing and accessories that I never thought I needed.This is my 2nd chance at the ride thanks to the lovely people at MS-UK as I was meant to do the ride in 2015 (and was feeling reasonably confident after Paris) when I ejected from my bike with one week to go. A cracked rib and punctured lung were the result and I still don’t know to this day what made me come off, all within a mile from home on a perfectly sunny day and without a pothole in sight.
Anyway, here we are again 2 years later. Preparation could not have been worse, particularly the past month, so I’m not feeling too confident with 70 miles as my max mileage to date, but I’ll give it a go. At least the hilly part is my local territory so maybe a bit of local knowledge could come in handy. I’m just hoping I can arrive at the Leatherhead hub with a degree of dignity intact so that my home fans aren’t too disillusioned.
I’ve raised a bit more this time to go with my £600 from 2015 and all for a very worthy cause. I lost my cousin Jeff to MS at the tender age of 44 in that year which is why I have to see this thing through. He had the most Christmas Cracker type sense of humour but always had a joke and a smile.
Good luck to all my fellow riders, especially the MS group.
Good luck to everyone taking on RideLondon today, we’ll be near Trafalgar Square cheering our hearts out with our wonderful volunteers. Look for the purple!
I am delighted to announce that MS-UK are charity partners for the Colchester Half Marathon in 2018 and 2019….delighted?, not half!
When we received the wonderful news from the Colchester Half Marathon race organisers that MS-UK had been selected as charity partners for 2018 and 2019 a loud cheer resonated around the office. Next year’s race has been set for Sunday March 25 2018 so grab your diary, pencil it in and get involved!
MS-UK has supported this event for many years by manning the water station at mile 11 so lots of our staff and volunteers have enjoyed being a part of this event for many years. To be charity partners for the next two years is amazing news. It’s such a well-established local event which thousands of people enjoy taking part in whilst supporting local charities. The partnership holds many opportunities for MS-UK. Firstly it enables us to increase the awareness of our charity and the services we provide to support people living with multiple sclerosis.
Although we are a national charity we have Josephs Court which is our wellness centre supporting local people living with MS.
Most of our clients visit Josephs Court on a weekly basis and receive one to one support from our professional Wellness Coaches who focus on the individual’s exercise needs and goals. We see around 180 clients a month and as well as the physical benefits they achieve through their specific exercise programme our clients gain a huge amount socially from coming to Josephs Court. We hope that the awareness we can raise through the Colchester Half Marathon will encourage local businesses and the community to find out more about our work and become involved.
Secondly we will benefit from the much needed donations from the event. MS-UK does not receive government or pharmaceutical funding to run its vital services. We rely on the generous support of our fundraisers and by taking part in events such as the Virgin Money London Marathon and Prudential RideLondon.
This will be a brilliant addition to our income for the next two years which will enable us to reach more people affected by MS. In 2018 we will be working alongside Essex & Herts Air Ambulance who were charity partners for the Colchester Half Marathon last year. We are looking forward to working with their team and supporting the race organisers with volunteer recruitment and developing our relationship with another brilliant local charity.
MS-UK are hoping for a large team of runners for this event so if you would like to run and raise additional funds for us we’d be delighted to have you on the team! We will of course support you all the way to achieving your running and fundraising goals.
Registrations are now open on the Colchester Half Marathon website!
If running is not for you but you would like to be involved please contact me to find out more about the volunteering roles available. We need approximately 200 volunteers to make the event a success and keep up to 4,000 runners that will enter the race safe.
For more information on running as part of team MS-UK or volunteering at the event please email me today.
A big thank you to Colchester Half Marathon for choosing MS-UK as their charity partner, and here’s to an amazing race!
Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager
Hi everyone, Next week we will be sending out our fundraising e-newsletter, and we wanted to let you know you can subscribe today just by visiting our website. Packed full of events news, top tips and fundraising ideas and inspiration, we send out this e-newsletter once a month. Subscribe today and stay up to date with all of our team news! Best wishes, Nick Nicholas Adams, Fundraising Assistant
Next week we will be sending out our fundraising e-newsletter, and we wanted to let you know you can subscribe today just by visiting our website.
Packed full of events news, top tips and fundraising ideas and inspiration, we send out this e-newsletter once a month.
Nicholas Adams, Fundraising Assistant
Hello from London!
Expo has now opened to the public and its buzzing!
We’ve had our first couple of visitors talk to us about the charity! Come find us at stand 267 and say hello once you have registered with Virgin Money London Marathon.
We may have a treat in store for you!
Don’t forget you’ll need to bring your registration form and photographic identification in order to register with Virgin Money London Marathon. No registration, no running!
Expo is at Excel London and the opening hours are:
Wednesday 19 – 11-8pm
Thursday 20 – 10-8pm
Friday 21 – 10am-8pm
Saturday 22 – 9am-5pm
Hope to see you this week
From the MS-UK fundraising team
Note about travelling to ExCeL…
The DLR station ‘Custom House’ is currently closed. Instead, get off of the DLR at Prince Regent. It is then a short walk to the other entrance to ExCeL. See you there!
Happy New Year from the fundraising team at MS-UK! And what a brilliant subject to write our first blog post of 2017 on, our Winter Draw. This year with your help the Winter Draw raised £3,696! Your Winter Draw entries looked a little like snow in our ticket container, and as we drew out the names of the winners there was certainly a similar feeling to the excitement of a white Christmas! To be able to give some great prizes back to our festive fundraisers who took part in the draw was an amazing feeling! So, without further ado, I’d like to announce some of our lucky winners!
Combined with everything you did for our Festive Frolic campaign you all raised over £6,000 for MS-UK!
We would like to say thank you to everyone that took part. Whether you bought a Winter Draw ticket, held a Festive Frolic for your friends and family or organised a bag packing event at your local supermarket, you helped raise vital funds to keep our services running! If you want to find out more or have an amazing idea for a fundraiser in 2017, please get in touch with me by phone on 01206 226 500 or by email! We are very much looking forward to 2017! Nick Nicholas Adams, Fundraising Assistant