Sun shines on happy band Walking the MS Mile as it arrives in Leighton Buzzard

Heidi Bartells and Sarah McCready, right, on MS Mile in Leighton Buzzard
Heidi Bartells and Sarah McCready, right, on MS Mile in Leighton Buzzard

The sun shone on a happy band of walkers who completed the Walk the MS Mile which took place in Leighton Buzzard.

The event was the culmination of months of planning for local charity the Chilterns MS Centre, with the Walk the MS mile raising both awareness of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and vital funds by walking a mile a day, every day, during September.

On Sunday, September 20, the walkers and wheelers took to the route around Leighton Buzzard.

The walk took in part of the ring road and then the length of the town’s High Street with a return along the same route. Ian Summerfield, trustee and owner of Buzzard Motorcycle Engineering - sponsor for the day - started the walk at 11am from the Tesco store in Vimy Road.

Linda Oatley and Sarah McCready, who both have MS, took part in every mile across towns and villages in Bucks, Herts, Oxon and Bedfordshire.

They had planned to walk and wheel each and every mile with other joining them along the way to celebrate 30 years of the charity.

Leighton Buzzard resident Heidi Bartels joined the walk and said: “I was diagnosed with MS in my early twenties. It is a life-changing condition and difficult to come to terms with.”

Heidi has been attending the Centre for over 10 years. She said: “I can not express what the Centre means to me and I don’t want to think where I would be if I hadn’t received such care and support from them.

“It is not only a place I go to get treatment for my MS but also where I have met so many good friends that really understand how MS affects me.”

Linda Oatley said: “The NHS provides very little long term support for people with Multiple Sclerosis so the Chilterns MS Centre is vital to 450 people in the local community with MS”. She thanked all the people who have been involved in the walk and added: “When I dreamt of the 30 miles in 30 days to celebrate 30 years of the charity I didn’t realise how amazing it would be. The community, businesses, and friends and family of centre members have given such momentum to Walk the MS mile – it is truly wonderful.”

To continue to offer its services the centre needs £900,000 a year to run. It is almost wholly reliant on donations and fundraising initiatives such as this.