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RideLondon-Surrey 100 as a lone rider

11th April 2014 by laura.percival

John Nicholson has supported the MS Trust for a number of years and last year he took part in the first ever RideLondon-Surrey 100 event. He completed the event in 6hrs 45 minutes and raised just over £2,000.

John (pictured) tells us how he prepared for the ride and shares his top tips for anyone considering taking part in RideLondon or a cycling event like this.

John Nicholson

Training:

As I prefer off-road cycling I chose to carry out the majority of my early training on my mountain bike along the South Downs. I built up to 50 miles off-road using the hills of the South Downs to build good leg strength as I knew the roads in my area would offer little in the way of hill training for Box Hill and Leith Hill.

I got to June and then realised I would have to buy a road bike for these final months of training. I was lucky enough to get a suitable bike from a friend for a couple of hundred pounds, which meant I could sell it immediately afterwards without being out of pocket. One thing you start to realise when fundraising privately is that it can cost you quite a lot of money personally for entry and kit, so I always go second hand where possible and recoup by selling on afterwards.

Bike Mechanics:

The day before the race there was another issue, I suddenly started panicking about tyres after finding a lot of little slits in the road tyres – you never see these on mountain bike tyres! I convinced myself it would end in disaster if I didn’t buy new tyres so this sees me the day before the ride changing the tyres and re-fitting the wheels. I then found that the brake blocks now rubbed massively on the front wheel, so much so it wouldn’t run free! After three hours of mild panic, and visions of slogging out 100 miles on a mountain bike, I managed to strip down the brake and put it back together in better working order… PHEW!

I also had my gears serviced one month before the event, only to find out that they were worse than when I took it into the bike shop! The lesson here is make sure you leave enough time to check out your bike following any work that you or a bike shop has carried out. There is a bike mechanic at the start point though for any dramas on the day.

The Ride:

When you book your car parking for the event make sure you consider how well you know London as you need to find your car from a different point at the end – more on this little adventure later!

The start area is large with plenty of toilets, the bag drop, and water facilities. There are a few places to buy food for the ride such as energy bars and, as mentioned above, there was also a mechanic’s tent for last minute concerns.

The start is managed as well as a mass event can be, but as you can imagine there is a lot of waiting around as all the waves get called up. The buzz as you move closer to the start gets more and more intense and you feel your adrenaline pumping waaay before you need it to.

Once started, the miles flew by. I found that my average speed was much higher than in training and before long I had readjusted my time from 9hrs down to 7hrs. And very quietly I was thinking I would do even better than that! If this is your first long road ride, like it was for me, don’t be fooled by those first 40 miles as I was – it’s adrenaline that’s making you faster not a sudden, overnight, leap in ability!

One target I had set myself was to do everything possible to ride all the hills, no pushing, just ride! I had in my mind that Box Hill was the one that might challenge this target the most, but actually Leith Hill was harder. But I managed it with burning legs.

The feeling of riding on closed roads was amazing. Sometimes I found myself in a group which pulled you along and allowed you to chat and forget the discomfort. Other times I was alone with only a couple of other riders in sight, which gave me time to think about how things were going, how much my backside hurt and how far I could go with the amount of fluid I had left in the bottles.

Box Hill arrived and was lined with spectators. It was really hard going, but a great feeling as you rode over the names of riders like Wiggins and Cav painted on the road. The support from the spectators was amazing throughout. I found myself going from quiet country lanes with only my thoughts for company and a few cyclists dotted around, to rounding a bend into a town or village to be met with shouts and claps of encouragement. It was an amazing feeling and really spurred me on.

The ride was not without its challenges both mentally and physically as you can imagine over 100 miles. Once I got to 75 miles things got a little tough. The bike pump that had been rattling for 75 miles now became a major source of irritation and was eventually removed and squeezed into a pocket. The queues at the water stations became a waste of valuable time rather than a social occasion. The crowds cheering brought on a weird emotional feeling rather than the adrenaline buzz of earlier, and my legs were shot! Thinking back now this is where the faster than average pace in the first 40 miles came back to bite with a vengeance. Every little hill – despite the crowd telling me “It’s OK there are no more hills” (LIARS!) – every little incline was a Box Hill and this last 25 miles was rather tough to say the least.

Then I was back in central London, riding past the various landmarks, realising it was close to being over, realising I had completely smashed my anticipated time of 9hrs and also the revised time of 7hrs (I do have a leaning towards pessimism when predicting race times).

And here was The Mall, the cacophony of noise from the spectators banging the plastic sponsor signs which lined the finishing straight was just awesome! The pain was forgotten for those few hundred meters and elation filled me, and a little bit of pride I think. Next thing I know I am having my photo taken with my medal and wandering around in a bit of a daze, wondering what to do next. I plonked myself down under a tree in Green Park (I think) and proceeded to drink and eat the contents of the goody bag. Once all was consumed and feeling slightly sick I got up to figure out a way to get back to the car.

After the ride:

Now I won’t go into the detail of what occurred next other than to say that it involved lots of pedestrians, China Town, Leicester Square, quite a few bridges, a lot of internal swearing, and two hours of car park hunting. And to top it all off I was stopped by a lady with a bike who asked if I wouldn’t mind fixing her puncture for her as I looked like I might know a bit about bikes! I fixed it with a tired smile.

So, going back to my point right at the beginning, make sure you plan a route back to the car or park close. Even better than that, have someone collect you and take you home.

It was an amazing event, I’m so very glad I did it and would recommend it to anyone.

Top Tips:

  • Make sure your bike is serviced and had everything done that you need at least two weeks before the event.
  • Remember tyre levers, puncture kit and pump
  • Bring two water bottles
  • Bring something to carry food in such as a bum bag or frame bag
  • Don’t start off too fast
  • Make sure you are comfortable with your saddle and shorts
  • Remove any annoying rattles – it will drive you insane at some point no matter how small
  • Make sure you are absolutely sure how to get back to your car
  • Take it all in, enjoy the crowds, and enjoy the traffic free roads
  • Do some hill training!

Find out how you can take part in the 2014 RideLondon-Surrey 100 for the MS Trust

Monster Ski update from Chamonix

18th March 2014 by laura.percival

The MS Trust’s sixth Monster Ski challenge is currently underway and 15 skiers are out in Chamonix, France, attempting to ski the height of Mount Everest every day for three days, all in aid of the MS Trust! Russell Hardy, Chair of Trustees at the MS Trust, is taking part in the challenge and he will be sending us regular updates, which you can read below…

DAY 1 – Monday 17 March

The first day of the Monster Ski challenge was unbelievably hot! The temperatures reached 20 degrees in the early afternoon. As a result, all the Monster Skiers were out very early to try and reach their goal of 30,000 vertical feet every day. With the help of two great ESF ski instructors, Fred and Beatrice, the intrepid international crew of Monster Skiers achieved their objective with time to spare to enjoy the late afternoon sun. There were no injuries but day two is certain to include many aching muscles!!

Monster Ski group

Monster Ski group in Chamonix

DAY 2 – Tuesday 18 March

Day two was again an incredibly hot day. We headed to Grand Montagne at the other end of the Chamonix valley for another early start. The day consisted of more hard and fast skiing, particularly in the morning as we tried to beat the ever rising temperatures. The sky is very blue but the spring sun makes the snow very slushy from midday onwards.

The trip is proving once again how much people who come on the Monster Ski love it. Equally we have had a number of people asking us about the challenge whilst we are on the slopes and we have had people donate to the MS Trust cause who have seen us rushing past them.

We again achieved the goal of 30,000 feet despite increased tiredness from us all, but as we approach the third and final day we can see the end is in sight.

Monster Ski group in front of snowy mountains

Members of the Monster Ski group on day two

DAY 3 – Wednesday 19 March

The final day of the Monster Ski started with more glorious blue skies. Under very icy conditions the Monster Skiers worked hard to complete their mission before the combination of tired limbs and slushy snow made things too difficult. However due to their commitment everyone achieved the goal of skiing the vertical height of Mount Everest every day for three days.

For future Monster Skiers it really is a significant challenge but immensely rewarding and all who have taken part this year would thoroughly recommend it for future participants. For those who have sponsored us this year we are immensely grateful. We all appreciate the demands placed on us all to give generously to worthwhile causes but the money you have given will have a real impact on people with MS and their families.

To celebrate the 2014 Monster Ski an Awards Ceremony was held on the last night. The winners were…

1. Award for youngest ever person to complete the Monster Ski – Amelia Chambers
2. Award for party animal of the trip and not looking wrecked the following day – Mitchell Longhurst
3. Trip Advisor guru Joint Award – Michelle McLaughlin and Kathleen Hannon
4. Most prudent and tidy skier award – Stephen Matthews
5. Cheeky chap award – Rory Watson
6. “I can ski on one leg if I need to” award – Paul Grout
7. The Franz Klammer award for speed and occasionally reckless skiing – Chris Biagini
8. Tidiest and most understated quality skier award – Boozy North
9. Perfect form and style despite massive back pain award – Del Hopgood
10. Best father for carrying his daughters skis everywhere award – John Chambers
11. The Madam Faff, dark horse skier, bit of a bandit award – Sarah Burgess
12. The most understanding partner award – Breanne Biagini
13. The surprisingly loud snoring and irritating good skiing award – Robbie Hardy

Monster Ski group

Russell Hardy

Find out more about Monster Ski

Fundraiser Megan takes on her next challenge

26th February 2014 by laura.percival

Following a cycle ride from Wales to Switzerland last year, for which she raised over £1,500 for the MS Trust, Megan Brooks from Yorkshire has now set her eyes on her next fundraising challenge.

Megan on her bike

Last year was pretty crazy. I bought a really thin bike, lost a lot of sleep, cycled in ice and rain, cried a fair bit, and learnt a whole lot about tough love. But, as a result, 10 months after starting training, I did cycle over 1,000 miles from Wales to Switzerland with two truly awesome people (my brother Ryan and his girlfriend Jen). I never would have thought it possible, but it has taught me that hard work and perseverance really pays off. Even more rewarding was the phenomenal support we received from all of our incredibly generous friends and family.

I’m now temporarily putting aside my clippy shoes and donning my Nikes to do a Forest Gump and try to RUN for a reaaaally long time.

On the 2nd March 2014 I will be running the Anglesey Half Marathon with my brother, Luke! We plan to run the Island Race in under two hours and will be doing so in aid of the MS Trust, which is a very special and important cause to us.

The longest running distance I have achieved up until now is my Race for Life 10K I did in July last year. So I’m aiming for double now! Training has been quite tough. I’ve run in wind and rain, up hills, and through puddles and mud to get prepared for this event. And now I get to run a beautiful route along the coast of Anglesey in North Wales with my brother. All to raise money for the wonderful MS Trust, an inspiring charity that helps so many people and touches so many people’s lives, including our family’s.

This run and the money we raise is a thank you for all the hard work and a contribution towards the continued help and inspiration this charity provides.

Megan Brooks

Visit Megan and Luke’s sponsorship page for the Anglesey Half Marathon

Read the blog from Megan, Ryan and Jen’s Wales-Switzerland cycle ride

MS Trust fundraiser Anne Thompson

20th February 2014 by Shan Teo

Over the last 10 years Anne Thompson, whose son has MS, has been one of the MS Trust’s most dedicated fundraisers. All in all she’s raised almost £15,000 – that’s enough to pay for the writing and printing of our new guides to managing MS bowel and bladder problems. It’s only thanks to the tireless work of people like Anne that we are able to make a difference for everyone affected by MS. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of Anne and everybody who has fundraised or donated to the MS Trust. Thank you all very much.

Anne Thompson

How did you first get in touch with the MS Trust?

You know, I can’t remember! I certainly know it’s the best thing I ever did. Over the years they have always been there to answer any questions we had, and have supported us in many ways. Their advice has always been brilliant, and has saved us some heartache and £14,000.
You see many years ago there were clinics abroad who were offering miraculous cures using stem cells. There was a lot of publicity in the press about these clinics and lots of convincing stuff on the internet backing these clinics as the new cure for MS.

My son, who was in his early twenties at the time, was all ready after reading all this hype to borrow £14,000 and fly to Holland when I stopped him and made urgent phone calls to the MS Trust to ask their opinion. They soon convinced us that these findings were untested and unlicenced. Some scams were soon uncovered and in some cases the clinics were closed down.

What made you first start fundraising?

I think I started over 10 years ago. My inspiration for starting to help was obviously seeing the benefits the MS Trust brought to my son’s life and my family.

Over the years I’ve organised quite a few events. We’ve had a big quiz night, my husband did a Scottish Islands open water swim, last year we had a vintage afternoon tea party, and my son has done 10,000 foot tandem parachute jump!

I was lucky enough to be invited by the MS Trust to listen to an address given by Professor Neil Scolding at the House of Lords last October. He explained how important our fundraising was to his team’s research into stem cells, and their potential use in the treatment of MS. So apart from the important information the MS Trust gives us, it is encouraging to see that some of the funds are used on research, and that we are indeed a valued part in the fight against MS.

What do you think has been the most important development in MS care in the last 21 years?

I would have to say MS nurses – they are our heroes! My son, who has secondary progressive MS, recently became very immobilised and in a few days lost the use of his left hand and arm.

I spoke to an MS nurse on the phone who advised me to immediately get a water sample to his doctor, as my son may have an infection. I did and within five minutes of going to the doctors was told he indeed had an infection, which could be triggering all his new symptoms.

Three days later his feeling had returned to his left arm and his grip was getting better by the day. I will always believe that the MS specialist nurse’s advice was the best thing that happened, as it boosted my son to a quick and happy recovery.

How have you seen the MS Trust develop over the years?

The MS Trust has evolved to become a very informative source for everyone affected by MS. They have the most comprehensive collection of leaflets and books on all aspects of MS and its problems, from the newly diagnosed, to people who have been living with MS for a while. It is so important when you are told you have MS to have somewhere to find out more. You can rely on the MS Trust to give you the correct information and advice.

This article is from our free quarterly newsletter, Open Door. Sign up to receive your copy by post or email, or read the latest edition in full.

Going boldly through the blue

20th February 2014 by Nicola Pates

Zipwire in Newcastle

Photo © Liam Smith

When Liz Hilland from Country Durham found out she had multiple sclerosis in 1999 she knew very little about it and feared it was an end to the life she knew. Since then she become involved in raising funds and awareness to help others understand more about MS and show that life goes on after diagnosis. Last year she took part in a zip slide from the Tyne Bridge as part of our Be Bold in Blue campaign.

When I was first told I had MS I’d never heard anything about it. I thought that was it. I had a one-year-old and a three-year-old and I thought my life was over.

I wanted to fundraise to raise awareness that you can still be positive. I didn’t want people in the same situation as me thinking it was the end – it’s not.

The first thing I did was a collection in a supermarket dressed as Santa, shaking a bucket. Various people were coming up to me, tearful and completely taken aback that I had MS too.

I work full-time in the entertainment department at Sainsbury’s and they have been really good since my diagnosis. Last MS Awareness Week I got everyone in my department to wear MS Trust T-shirts as part of the Be Bold in Blue campaign. We had wristbands and pin badges on the counters with collection boxes. An MS specialist nurse came up to me in the store and said “I’m so pleased about what you’re doing”. I had been trying to get in touch with an MS nurse so I took her number and I’m seeing her now!

Last year I took part in a zip slide off the Tyne Bridge to raise funds for the MS Trust. I don’t know why I did it – it was so high! The man said “Don’t look over the bridge,” so of course I looked over. I kept thinking “sponsor money, sponsor money, sponsor money…” I screamed from the second I jumped off until they told me I’d finished! It was a really good day, people loved it.

Sometimes I push myself too hard so this year I’m going to take it a bit easier and do nice things like cake sales and helping out at the MS Trust’s zip slide event. Both my daughters are doing it and I’m really looking forward to it. Some of my friends and colleagues are taking part and one of them has already raised £400.


Be Bold in Blue fundraisersFor this year’s MS Awareness Week, Be Bold in Blue goes large!

This year’s MS Awareness Week takes place from 28 April to 4 May and we hope that lots of you will get involved. MS Awareness Week gives us all a chance to help others understand what it means to live with MS. Any activities you can arrange locally or online will help us to reach out to more people who could benefit from our support.

Once again we’re running our Be Bold in Blue fundraising campaign and we can provide you with ideas and materials to support you in whatever you choose to do.

This year we’re also introducing Be Bold in Blue Goes Large which gives you a chance to really think big and plan a fundraising and awareness event on a larger scale. The money you raise will help us continue to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information about MS through our website, publications and enquiry service.

Find out more about how you can take part in Be Bold in Blue 2014. 

Sponsored zip slide in Newcastle

For the MS Trust’s own Be Bold in Blue Goes Large, we’re organising a sponsored zip slide in Newcastle across the River Tyne on Saturday 10 May. Visit our zip slide pages or get in touch on 01462 476707 to find out how you can take part. Keep an eye on our MS Awareness Week website for all the latest updates and information.


Get involved!

There are loads of ways you can get involved and support our work helping everyone affected by MS. Here are just a few ideas. Find out more on our fundraising pages.

London to Paris cycle ride

Join our team for this classic cycle challenge connecting two stylish capital cities. Various dates available between May and September.

www.mstrust.org.uk/londontoparis

DFIC Super Hero Run

Fancy dress 5K or 10K fun run in London’s Regent’s Park on 18 May. Join our team of super heroes for this accessible family event.

www.mstrust.org.uk/superhero

British 10K London Run

Wear your MS Trust T-shirt with pride and run 10K through the streets of London alongside 25,000 others on 13 July.

www.mstrust.org.uk/british10k 

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

Cycle 100 miles along closed roads on 10 August, following a route from the London 2012 Olympics.

www.mstrust.org.uk/ridelondon

Bupa Great North Run

Run the famous 13.1 miles from Newcastle to the coast at South Shields on 7 September, in the world’s biggest half marathon.

www.mstrust.org.uk/greatnorth

This article is from our free quarterly newsletter, Open Door. Sign up to receive your copy by post or email, or read the latest edition in full.

Supporting my MS nurse who is raising money for the MS Trust

14th February 2014 by laura.percival

By Helen Nixon

Lee-Anne & Helen

I have known my MS Nurse, Lee-Anne Dippenaar, for three years. I can not over-estimate her dedication and the support she gives to all her patients. Lee-Anne is a similarly dedicated triathlete and has decided to do Ironman in South Africa in honour of her MS patients and to raise money for the MS Trust.

Lee-Anne will be doing this Triathlon on 6th April 2014. It is a one day event comprising of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run, and will take her 13 hours to complete.

When Lee-Anne told me of her plans I put an article in the newsletter of the local MS self-help support group PAMS that I belong to. I told Lee-Anne that it would be lovely to be at the finishing line to cheer her on, not really thinking this would be possible. However, when Lee-Anne said that she’d like it if I could be there, that by so doing we might raise more money for the MS Trust, I thought “why not?”!

I had a long discussion with my partner and we decided to throw caution to the wind, blow my savings and go and support Lee-Anne and cheer her over the finishing line! The airline tickets have now been booked and hopefully many people will be sponsoring Lee-Anne.

To quote a certain supermarket, “Every Little Helps” and so I hope everyone will find something in their piggybank to sponsor Lee-Anne by visiting her Virgin Money Giving page.

The photo (right) is of Lee-Anne and me in Richmond Park at one of Lee-Anne’s training runs.

IRONMAN Challenge: why?

By Lee-Anne Dippenaar

I have always enjoyed exercise and just being outdoors regardless of the season. I was in post as an MS Nurse for just five months when out of the blue I was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid. It was then when the importance of living life to the full and in the present became an obsession for me. I had to see my MS patients, listen to their journeys, empathise with their grief of daily loss as they realise they are unable to do the things they so desperately want to. I see so many people who in spite of their minor or major physical limitations are still just unstoppable. Their optimistic attitude is inspirational.

I appreciate what my body is capable of and I have to push the limits because I am fit and healthy. I have completed races before but this time I decided to do IRONMAN and raise some money for MS because I wanted to do more. I am honoured and grateful to be in good health to train for such a massive challenge. IRONMAN is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organised by the World Triathlon Corporation consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim in the rough South African sea, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride over some hills and a marathon 26.2-mile (42.2 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. Most IRONMAN events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race.

When Helen told me that she will also be coming to South Africa and that she and her partner will support and cheer me on I was shocked and absolutely thrilled. I am not really a fundraiser, I find it difficult to ask people for money – I would rather just listen and offer help and advice. However I must admit that raising money has been an incredibly humbling experience and with Helen by my side as instigator I feel confident that we will make a great team.

I am training 11 to 16 hours per week on top of a normal working week. Knowing that I will have many very special spectators who will be keeping a close eye on me on the 6th April is terrific motivation. I train with a purpose and I hope to inspire others to try to ‘push the limits’ a bit more. You would never know what you could be capable of if you don’t. Every day is a new day! Learn from the past, make goals for the future, but live in the present!

Visit Lee-Anne’s fundraising page

Why the youngest woman in this year’s London Marathon is running for the MS Trust

5th February 2014 by laura.percival

Georgina Goddard
Georgina Goddard is the youngest member of our 2014 London Marathon team. She’s also the youngest of all the women running this year! Here she tells us why she chose to run for the MS Trust.

My name is Georgina Goddard and I live in Essex. On 13 April 2014, I will be running the London Marathon as part of the team representing the Multiple Sclerosis Trust, which provides support to people with multiple sclerosis. My uncle Paul died a couple of years ago at the age of 49 after living with MS for several years and my aunt Sandie has had it for about 5 years, so I have first hand knowledge of the disease and how it affects people and their families. So when it came to choosing a charity there was no other for me.

I will be one of the youngest people running the marathon, just eight days after my 18th birthday and I want to mark this occasion by raising a minimum of £1,808. This is something that will be a tough task for me at my young age, but I will work hard to get the money as I have always wanted to run the marathon since I was very young.

I have assisted at the 20 mile London Marathon water station for several years, so have seen the commitment people make to run the marathon and I will be there very soon giving the same. I have already raised a fair amount and I have a charity night coming up at the Tandoori Parlour Indian restaurant in Thundersley, Essex. We have sold 100 tickets with a donation from the ticket price going to the charity. We have also had many companies donating auction prizes, such as Extreme Element who donated a £50 voucher for the auction on the night, so I am confident I will reach my target and more by April.

For more information please visit my fundraising page at www.virginmoneygiving.com/GeorginaGoddard.

Hayley gets ready to trek in Iceland for the MS Trust

22nd November 2013 by laura.percival

Hayley Budge

After finding out that she had MS, 23 year old Hayley Budge decided she wanted to pack as much adventure into her life as possible. Hayley and her friend Sarah Jessen, both from Orkney, will be taking part in our Iceland Trek next year. Here Hayley tells us about their preparations for the trek.

Along with my friends, family and colleagues, my wonderful friend Sarah Jessen has been a rock for me in the months following my diagnosis. When I said I wanted to do something big for charity she didn’t hesitate and signed up for the Iceland Trek too.

We’ve not started training specifically for the trek yet. We’re both active people anyway. Sarah goes to Zumba and yoga on a weekly basis and I enjoy cycling and going to the gym. Having multiple sclerosis makes me more determined to be generally fit in everyday life. We plan to start focused training in January 2014 – that’ll give us an excuse to make the most of all festive parties this year.

On that note, a lovely woman, Carol Taylor, is holding a Santa’s Tea Party in mid December to raise money for us. It was all her idea and she’s organised the whole thing. There will be lots of cake and party games for the invitees to enjoy. My contribution will be homemade wine and millions of teacups. I’ve been buying china teacups and saucers from the charity shops for weeks now with the intention of holding a Giant Mad Hatters’ Tea Party – I’m not really a coffee morning kind of girl. I’ve got 86 teacups and saucers already.

The first event I have started organising with Sarah is an art show to be held in March 2014. The positive response has been overwhelming. Many of the artists who are going to contribute to the exhibition are renowned Orkney artists, which is super duper and every donation of artwork is much appreciated. One of my neighbours, Bert Simpson, is very kindly letting us use his gallery for the exhibition.

We’re also very grateful to all our friends, family, acquaintances and people who we have never met whose generosity means our sponsor page and sponsor forms are now totaling nearly £800 – over 30% of our initial target already.

We’ve had a delightful write up in our local paper about the trek and Al Jazeera have been great – I took part in the documentary they made about their correspondent, Stephanie Scawen, who has MS too. They then asked me to write about MS for their website and added a link on the article to our sponsor page.

I aim to raise awareness about MS along the way as well. I’ve started a blog called You can’t see this, on which I will be posting a different, surprising and invisible symptom of MS every week up until the trek in July 2014.

If you would like to join Hayley and Sarah on our Iceland Trek from 2-6 July 2014, there are still six places available – find out more and book.

Hayley Budge and Sarah Jessen

Hayley Budge (left) and Sarah Jessen

Kenny’s handmade wooden Christmas robins

22nd November 2013 by laura.percival

Kenny Smith has been supporting the MS Trust for more than ten years by running marathons, trekking, cycling and organising the MS Circuit Challenge at Goodwood. Kenny works on the Goodwood Estate as a carpenter and at this time of year, he gets very busy in his workshop making Christmas robins to sell in aid of the MS Trust.

My robins are made from good quality seasoned timbers that are all off cuts and scraps from my workshop, so not only is it great to be making them to benefit the MS Trust but it saves on waste and is basically recycling!

Robins being made

They are hand made and hand painted making every robin unique. They stand at around 4″ high on their stands and make the perfect Christmas decoration. Each robin goes through 20 processes from marking out, cutting the rough shape, sanding and shaping, to drilling and painting.

Each robin is hand painted using water based paints. Once dry, they are lightly sanded to give a rustic and almost feathery look.

Robins being made

I am lucky that I can use my workshop to make the robins in my free time and it’s a great way to raise funds for the MS Trust. They are a bargain at £5 each (plus P&P charged at cost) and will look great as they come out Christmas after Christmas as part of anyone’s seasonal decoration.

Finished robins

Please note: If you would like to order robins in time for Christmas, the last order date is Monday 16 December 2013.

You can order robins via the MS Woodshop Facebook page, by emailing s-smith101@sky.com or calling Kenny on 07970 695543.

Kenny’s robins are also available to buy from the Goodwood farm shop on the Goodwood Estate in Chichester, West Sussex.

One man, one bike, 8,000 miles

14th November 2013 by laura.percival

Ben in Kayseri

Ben Smith is cycling solo from the UK to India on a mission to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

His journey began in London in August and he is currently passing through Turkey, where he has slept in a petrol station, visited the dried apricot capital of the world and been interviewed for the Turkish national news!

Ben says, “Some say I’m mad, some say ‘have you never heard of planes?’, but cycle tourism is the only way. Moving slow, reaching far. I’m aiming to raise £5,000 for the MS Trust, a charity close to my heart, and no better motivation on the long hard roads. I’m hoping to be in India by Christmas, passing through Europe, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. A total of 8,000 miles.”

You can follow Ben’s progress, see his photos and read about the many friends he has made along the way, on his blog Big lad on a bike.

Ben hopes to raise £5,000 in sponsorship for the MS Trust. If you would like to sponsor him, please visit his fundraising page.

UPDATE 20/12/13: Ben is featured on a TV show in Dubai! His interview starts at about 9:45 – watch Ben’s interview

Ben in the Capadoccian valley

Ben in the Capadoccian valley

Ben Outside Pinarbasi

Ben outside Pinarbasi with the local armed forces