THE West Berkshire branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association celebrated 30 years of the charity’s work at an event on Saturday, April 29.
The evening, attended by 100 supporters and invited guests, started with a service of music and readings in St Mark’s Church, Englefield, conducted by the Reverend Derek Spears from Aldermaston, followed by an event at Englefield House, home of the branch’s patron, Newbury’s Conservative Parliamentary candidate Richard Benyon.
Speakers included BBC TV and radio presenter Nicholas Owen, who shared his personal story of a close friend who died of MND in 2015, and Newbury’s Alec Jenkins, who is being robbed of his voice by the disease and agreed for his speech to be read by his brother Paul.
Invited guests included Berkshire’s new High Sheriff Mrs Sarah Scrope, Deputy Lord Lieutenant Professor Suzanna Rose, Dr Clare Galtrey, consultant neurologist at Frimley Park Hospital, and West Berkshire Council chairman Quentin Webb.
Mrs Scrope said: “I was fascinated and moved again by the speeches.”
All guests were asked to bring a jam jar of spring flowers to place in the church.
Jane Gilbert, of the MND Association, said: “It was a very simple idea but effective.”
Prof Rose said: “It really was an inspirational event.
“I too was heartened by optimistic views around research progress.”
Association research director Dr Brian Dickie said: “We may not see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but the train is heading in the right direction and it’s picking up speed.”
Branch chairwoman Margaret Moss said: “To continue our successful work we need more volunteers for the next leg of the journey.”
MND can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe.
It kills six people per day in the UK, just under 2,200 per year. At present there is no cure.