Charity looks to the year ahead

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A MORPETH-BASED charity is hoping to go from strength to strength during 2013.

Key to the plans of the MS Research and Relief Fund in Stobhill is installing a hydrotherapy pool and good progress has been made in its fund-raising.

It has also done some improvement work to its garden and new facilities are being installed on the first floor.

The pool would help to relieve symptoms, including fatigue and pain, and allow sufferers to exercise gently and safely without causing stress to their bodies.

Money for it has been collected at a series of events including the project launch at Close House Golf Club near Heddon on the Wall and Northumberland resident Steve Cowen raised in excess of £1,000 after completing the St Oswald’s Way walk, 97 miles, in four days.

MS Research and Relief Fund Networking and Marketing Officer Sue Dowson said: “We’re pleased with how much we’ve collected for the hydrotherapy pool project, including quite a few donations from organisations, and we have a number of activities in the pipeline for 2013.

“We’re also looking to get some sponsorship for it and it would be great if Morpeth businesses could get involved.

“Hopefully, by the time of our 50th anniversary in 2014 the pool will be open or at the very least the turf cutting ceremony will have taken place.”

The organisation provides a range of services and information to help people whose lives have been affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), including complementary therapies, a vibrogym and other exercise facilities and grants for individuals and MS groups. It also contributes to research into the condition.

A new gym, therapy rooms and offices are being organised for upstairs at its Benmar House headquarters and substantial planting and landscaping works were carried out in the memorial garden to give it a colourful face-lift, which were recognised in October with a Royal Horticultural Society award.

Mrs Dowson said: “We’ve built up a lot of momentum in 2012 and we will look to raise the charity’s profile even further this year.”