Northamptonshire MS group up for national award

The MS Society Northamptonshire group. Picture by Mike Bignell mike@mbignell.com
The MS Society Northamptonshire group. Picture by Mike Bignell mike@mbignell.com

A county group has been selected as a finalist in the 2018 MS Society Awards.

The MS Society Northamptonshire group is one of three ‘Group of the Year’ finalists to be recognised at the national charity’s Awards ceremony in London at the end of the month.

The group was formed in 2016 following a merger between groups in Northampton, Kettering and Market Harborough.

It now comprises 20 passionate volunteers who support anybody with MS and their families in Northamptonshire and South Leicestershire.

They raise awareness of MS, provide information and raise funds to help people with the condition locally and for innovative MS research.

Jim McGown, retired acting co-ordinator of the group, says one of the group’s biggest strengths is its diverse range of skills and number of volunteers: “We want to reach as many people with MS and their families as possible and we’re always looking for ways to engage new members. We couldn’t do this without the dedication of our volunteers.

“We run coffee mornings, lunch groups and exercise classes, we work closely with the local MS nurses and Citizens Advice Bureau to deliver services and support, and we even have our own YouTube channel.

“I think people with MS really benefit from the social contact and support we offer.”

Jim, who’s 71 and lives in Kettering, joined the MS Society in 2001 after his daughter was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 28.

Speaking about the group being named a finalist in the MS Society’s Awards, Jim says: “Everyone was chuffed to bits. We’re all absolutely delighted and very proud to be recognised in this way.”

Chief executive of the MS Society Michelle Mitchell said: “The MS Society Awards is our way of celebrating the remarkable hard work and dedication of those who make a difference to the 100,000 people living with MS in the UK.

“We’re delighted our Northamptonshire group is one of this year’s finalists and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to our awards ceremony.”

MS is an unpredictable condition that affects more than 100,000 people in the UK. It can cause problems with how you walk, move, see think and feel, and is different for everyone.

The 2018 MS Society Awards will be held on Friday, April 27, at etc.venues, County Hall, London.

The ceremony will be attended by a host of famous names from the worlds of TV, radio, music and sport.

Find out more at www.mssociety.org.uk/awards or follow the ceremony live on social media using #MSSocietyAwards2018