North West London’s busy September
Fundraisers in the North West London branch had a great September, bringing in just short of £2,000 with a garden concert and a sponsored 10 kilometre run in London's iconic Regent's Park.
First-time concert goers were taken aback to step into former Branch Chair Mo Dunning's garden, an unexpectedly huge plot which stretches back hundreds of feet in a pocket behind a group of houses in the quiet suburb of Kenton.
Mo, who did a nine year stint as NW London Branch Chair after retiring as a neurological physio, estimates about 55 people made it to Kenton's secret garden to watch guitarist Martin Vishnick and friends work through a range of songs from Gypsy Swing to classics and folk tunes.
Some of the money raised on the day came from a raffle, prizes for which included a painting by current Branch Co-Chair Sarah Ezekiel, who is presenting work in the "Art Beyond Limits" exhibition at London's Oxo Tower Gallery in October. The exhibition brings together work created by people living with and affected by MND and marks 40 years of the Association.
Mo said laying on the party was enjoyable, and while it was hard work it was a chance for people to get together. "And it's a good way for people to know about MND, because there are people attending with MND and it's also about awareness building and any money we can raise," said Mo.
MND Association Chief Executive, Sally Light, was at the garden concert and gave a short address outlining the Association's goals and praising the work of volunteers and their contribution to the organisation. She highlighted the fact that the money raised by volunteers not only goes towards research but also towards supporting people newly diagnosed with MND and their families.
"Sally saw that we were holding the concert on our newsletter and wanted to come along," said the branch's other Co-Chair Cheryl Stroud, adding that the group welcomed the chance for members to meet Sally.
"It was important for us to know that she had read our newsletter and that she cares enough to want to support our branch on her weekend," Cheryl said.
Sally, who is training for London's Royal Parks Half Marathon in October, congratulated branch member Keiron Henderson for completing the 10k Regent's Park run, which he was down to do with Cheryl until she broke her ankle in a training accident while on holiday.
"I turned up on the day to wave Keiron off in my very stylish stormtrooper style air boot," said Cheryl, adding, "It was a beautiful early Autumn day, but it was very frustrating to see Keiron running without me as I had been looking forward to beating him."
Words by Keiron Henderson - Volunteer writer