Some years ago a group of bus drivers on the Loop (for those not from Thanet, the Loop is circular bus route around Thanet), noticed that there were many great pubs on the route and it was decided by the group of young men that it would be great to visit each one.
It started as a fun event but soon morphed in a charity fund raising event. Over the years this group of young men have raised many thousands of pounds for local charities, including Pilgrims Hospice, Beach within Reach and Caring for Connor amongst others.
One of the regular travellers was John Rawlins, who sadly died of Motor Neurone Disease earlier this year. The group has decided to raise funds for MNDA in East Kent in memory of their great friend.
This year the journey started and ended at Weatherspoon’s in Ramsgate and collectors travelled by the Loop to Westwood Cross on to Margate, round to Broadstairs, then on to Ramsgate stopping at over 20 hostelries on the route.
Pubs and customers gave generously to the group as they travelled around in fancy dress. The fantastic sum of £578.51 was collected and this will be used to support people living with MND in East Kent.
MND is an incurable disease which kills 6 people every week, and life expectancy after diagnosis is usually short, so there is a great need for urgent support for anyone diagnosed with this awful disease.
The MND Association in East Kent would like to thank all the collectors for their generosity of time and for the fabulous fancy dress. We would also like to thank all the pubs visited and all the customers who gave so generously. Thank you all very much.
The East Kent Group met on Saturday for an open meeting for people living with MND, their carers, friends, family and volunteers.
We had 23 attend in all and we had the honour of a visit from Councillor Colin Spooner The Sheriff of Canterbury, who addressed the meeting. Huge thanks to Colin for making the time in his busy schedule to visit with us.
Other contributors were Chairman Clive Hudson who spoke briefly about fund raising plans; Judy Keay who spoke about our Association Visitors; Lynn Hudson who spoke about our monthly Tea by the Sea meetings and finally Katy Styles who updated us on current campaigning activity.
We enjoyed sandwiches and cake prepared by the committee members and lots of warm hearted and friendly conversation.
Some time ago, when I started to look around for some voluntary work I decided to become involved with MNDA. Initially I joined the committee in East Kent and then trained as an Association Visitor (AV)…starting in 2016. Talking to people I have met since becoming involved with MNDA East Kent I have been struck by the resilience and tenacity that many of these folks show…some are people living with the disease, others are relatives, carers or friends of theirs. A common factor shown by so many is that of supporting each other in the face of this vile and debilitating disease.
The camaraderie I have witnessed first hand is incredible, many form friendships…co-supporting each other and sharing ideas and treatment options. Some have set up fund raising initiatives, and I am aware that quite a number use the network of social media to keep in touch, some are happy to have an Association Visitor offering friendship and support, and some like to attend meetings…networking with others facing similar difficulties. It’s so rewarding to work together with these people and I really enjoy doing so.
One of the many challenges facing PwMND is the gradual reduction of their own physical abilities meaning that activities which were easy for them previously become difficult or indeed impossible. It means that travelling options are very restricted, they may no longer be able to drive, and public transport options may well be very limited. Many of the support activities in East Kent are centred around Canterbury or Ashford…. which means an almost impossible trek for many living in the rural or coastal areas of Kent, such as Thanet. Several voiced their disappointment at not being able to attend these meetings without supreme efforts by themselves and their carers.
Upon discussion about these difficulties with the MNDA East Kent committee we decided to offer for a trial period, of three months, a Thanet based support group, meeting once a month in the afternoon in a suitably placed venue, and one which offered many appropriate facilities.
Several options for a venue were explored. We decided on The Botany Bay Hotel in Kingsgate which is ideally situated for all of Thanet, with plenty of parking, access and facilities are excellent. The manager and staff are extremely helpful and willing to accommodate us. Our trial period starting in September 2017, on the last Wednesday of each month from 3pm until 5pm, and we call it Tea by the Sea!!
We contacted many people by telephone and email to invite them to come. We offer tea or coffee with cake or scones, and have been delighted at the response. Each meeting has been attended by PwMND, families and carers. These are small meetings, but so friendly, everyone getting to know each other, sharing experiences, frustrations and coping mechanisms in a spirit of camaraderie and friendship. The hotel has allowed us to use a small private function room for no extra charge, all we pay for is the tea and cake consumed. The first meeting was attended by eight people, subsequently the attendance varied from 16 down to four (the weather was typically coastal atrocious that day!!)
The trial period of three months ended in November, but by popular request was extended to include December and will now continue into 2018, on the last Wednesday of each month. The next dates are as follows:
Wed January 31st, Wed February 28th, Wed March 28th, Wed April 25th, Wed May 30th, Wed June 27th all between 3 and 5pm.
Please make a note of these dates. You can be sure of a warm welcome, and the refreshments are pretty good too!!
TREBLE WARDS’ AMERICAN SUPPER
(Disco & raffle in aid of MND association, Bring your own food & drink/alcohol)
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 24TH
TEMPLE EWELL VILLAGE HALL
Tickets £5, (buy in advance from Emma or Lorraine on Treble Ward, first come first served)
Note Treble Ward is a Ward at The Kent and Canterbury Hospital
We will be holding our second coastal marathon walk on Sunday May 20th 2018.
A 25 mile walk, will take place from Whitstable to Broadstairs via King George V Park, a 13 mile walk, from Minnis Bay to Broadstairs via King George V Park. A shorter walk of 5 miles, is also planned from Botany Bay Hotel, Kingsgate to Broadstairs via King George V Park.
There is an entrance fee of £10 which includes a tee shirt (collected on the day), training program, detailed plan of walk, and full insurance. Only registered walkers can walk and they must wear the tee shirt for insurance purposes.
Each walker is requested to find sponsorship to support people living with MND in East Kent. There is no obligation to raise sponsorship but all support is greatly appreciated.
If you intend to set up your own JustGiving page, we are happy for you to do so. Please select MNDA as your charity and then please mention MNDA East Kent in your story to ensure that funds you raise are used for people living with MND in East Kent. Once you have set up your JustGiving Page, please link it to our team at www.justgiving.com/teams/coastalwalk2018/join so we can keep track of the total funds we raise.
If you want to make a donation in support but not register please visit our Donations Page