Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, was invited to open the Berkshire Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Therapy Centre’s Christmas Fayre on Saturday 19th November. The event was entirely organised by the members of Centre, who all suffer from MS, a degenerative disease for which there is no known cure.
Alok, who was accompanied by his wife Ingela, was met by Pippa Vincent-Cooke, the Centre Manager, who gave him a guided tour and a full explanation of the work that is done within the Centre to help local people with MS. Alok also had an opportunity to meet with the organisers of the Christmas Fayre and the numerous volunteers at the event before cutting the ribbon to officially open the Fayre.
The Centre is an independent local charity that was formed almost 30 years ago by a group of people, all suffering from MS, who wanted to provide support to the local MS community by way of therapies. The stated aim of the charity is to promote self-help and encourage a positive attitude. When the charity was set up in the early 1980s, it was based in two portacabins in Caversham. Today, the Centre is located in purpose-built premises in August End, just off the Oxford Road, in Reading. A team of physiotherapists are employed in the gymnasium and the Centre also has an Oxygen Tank which provides relief from many of the symptom of MS.
Alok said: “I was delighted to open The Berkshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre’s Christmas Fayre and my wife and I managed to purchase a few early Christmas gifts! The Centre provides valuable services to local people and I was impressed by the supportive community spirit that was apparent in the Centre when I visited.”
Pippa Vincent-Cooke said: “The Christmas Fayre was an excellent event and we were pleased Alok was able to join us to officially open it. The improvements to the Centre over the years have been made possible by continual fundraising, including from events such as this, and good governance. As a result, our Centre is now regarded as one of the flagship MS centres in the UK.”
Photo (left to right): Alok opening the Christmas Fayre with Sam Butlin, Ingela Sharma, Sheila Booth, Trish Wright, Penny Russel and Glynis Wilks.