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MS Centre Celebrates 25 Years

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The Gloucestershire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre celebrated its 25th Anniversary at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 7th August.

Members, volunteers and supporters gathered in the Panoramic Room for a very special evening. Some of those present had been involved right at the start, in 1985, when a group of people who had all been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis decided to set up a Therapy Centre in Gloucester. At that time there were no treatments for MS and patients were told to simply go home and get on with it.

The group found out about Hyperbarric oxygen therapy and determined to set up an oxygen chamber for the people of Gloucestershire. The Gloucestershire MS Therapy Centre was born and has served the needs of those with MS and other neurological problems ever since. Its principal belief is that self-help is beneficial to everyone, whether it cures an illness or simply helps them to feel better.

One of the founder members, Hazel Chapman, was presented with a beautiful blue hydrangea by Gareth Jenkins– the current chairman. Hazel has been the chief fundraiser for the Centre since its inception. Since it began she has run a huge variety of events – jumble sales, valentine dances, sponsored swims, concerts, fashion shows etc every year the Centre needs to raise £35,000 in running costs. Hazel has gamely taken on the challenge every year, roping in friends, family and a large number of volunteers from Shurdington.

Some of the Centre’s patrons were able to attend the celebration– the Bishop of Tewkesbury, and Lord and Lady Dickinson. Lady Dickinson, who has MS herself and who has used the Centre’s therapies on occasion, cut the cake in fine style and was keen to praise the good work being done at the Centre. She is a popular visitor and helps with various events whenever she can.

Richard Graham, the new MP for Gloucester, arrived fresh from a cricket match in his “coalition” coloured trousers – “a mix of blue and yellow gives you green,” he explained. He threw himself into drawing the tickets for the Centre’s Grand Prize Draw, which included a teddy bear from the House of Commons which he donated on the night.

The evening was a big success, giving people a chance to meet with old friends and to enjoy a lively party with good food and music

The MS Therapy Centre has come a long way over the years and is hoping to continue its development. It still offers the hyperbarric oxygen therapy, for which it was originally set up, and is now able to provide a wide range of complementary therapies, - reflexology, reiki, massage and shiatsu. The latest addition is physiotherapy. The Centre operates as a drop-in centre for help and advice, and over the years has helped hundreds of people with information and support. If you think the Centre might be able to help you please call l 01452 419246 (Tuesday to Friday)