Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, recently attended a local charity sale to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association.
The annual charity sale is organised by Tilehurst resident, Lin Jenkins, who holds the sale on her front drive, the profits from which go the MND Association. Lin usually raises several hundred pounds and the sale has become a community event where neighbours meet up and chat.
At the sale, Lin explained to Alok that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the MND Association, and to commemorate this milestone, they hope to light up iconic buildings in the charity’s colours throughout the country, including the Water Tower in Tilehurst.
Following the sale, Alok wrote to Thames Water on Lin’s behalf to ask whether they would consider participating in the anniversary celebrations by lighting up the Water Tower in Tilehurst. Alok has now received a response confirming that Thames Water are happy to consider participating in the charity’s celebrations and providing access to the Tower as well as electrical power to the lights, subject to submission and consideration of a detailed plan.
Alok Sharma said: “I was so pleased to support the brilliant Lin Jenkins at her annual charity sale to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Association – she works tirelessly for the charity and I am delighted that Thames Water are positive to considering the proposal to light up the Tilehurst Water Tower.”
Alok continued: “I am also very pleased that the Government recognises the valuable contribution made by carers of people with MND, many of whom spend a significant proportion of their life providing support to family members, friends and neighbours. Carers must receive the right support to help them carry out their caring roles and a new cross-Government National Carers Strategy is being introduced to look at what more can be done to support existing and future carers.”
Lin Jenkins, local MND fundraiser said: “I was very thankful to Alok for attending my very windblown charity sale and it is great that Thames Water are happy to consider participating in the charity’s celebrations.”
MND can have a devastating impact on a person’s quality of everyday life and be a real struggle for patients and their loved ones. Early diagnosis and support for those living with MND remains a key priority of the NHS.
With early diagnosis key to treating the symptoms of MND, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new guidelines for clinicians on the assessment and management of MND. These set out the signs and symptoms of the disease, and recommend that patients suspected of having MND should be referred without delay. The Royal College of GPs and the MND Association have also worked together to produce a ‘Red Flag Tool’ which sets out key signs of MND to help GPs to identify suspected cases and ensure prompt referral.
All services for people with MND should be commissioned in line with NHS England’s neurosciences service specification which sets out what providers must have in place to deliver high quality specialised neurological care. MND care is part of the NHS’s specialised services and the budget for these services has increased more rapidly than other parts of the NHS, to £16.6 billion for the year 2017/18.
Photo: Alok Sharma MP with Lin Jenkins at annual charity sale