Christine Burgin did a tandem skydive recently in memory of her husband Steve who died in April. Go Chris!

Chris's Tandem Skydive





On 2nd December we held our annual Christmas Party at the Noke Hotel. We enjoyed mince pies,
wine and a seasonal quiz. A good time was had by all.

quiz night 2014

Seventy nine people attended our second quiz night, held on 
9 May, again in the lovely hall at St Stephen’s Church Hall in 
St Albans. The questions were devised by last year's quiz 
master, Ian McEwen, but were delivered this time by the 
branch's ex-Chair John Barton, ably assisted with the scoring 
by an ex- Association Visitor, Yvonne Dawson. We are very 
grateful that they came out of their well deserved retirement to 
help us once again.

This year we had a lovely buffet at half time, and, including the 
raffle, raised approximately £1,000, which was more than last 


                                                   From the left, Elinor, Jenny, Sian, Colin, Lesley, Carol, Rosemary.

The Christmas Party was held at the Noke Hotel on 4th December 2013. Twenty two people attended and enjoyed mince pies, wine and juice provided by the Branch not to mention the delicious chocolate cake provided by the Noke.

The room had been festively decorated which added to the atmosphere and it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening.

Elinor had prepared a quiz and this was met with great success. Guests arranged themselves into five teams and there was a spirit of friendly competitiveness.

As usual the raffle was well supported. In addition to the money raised by the raffle guests were able to take advantage
of the Christmas Cards for sale

All in all it was a very successful evening and thanks are due to the Committee Members who all played their part in making
it so.

Sian Goodwin


A Ladies Evening in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association was held by the St Albans Fitness and Wellbeing Centre on 27 June.

Having seen an item in the Herts Advertiser publicising this event, I telephoned the Centre to find out more. It transpired that the mother of one of the gym instructors, Gary Wood, had died from the disease a couple of years ago. Mrs Wood had worked hard to raise funds for the Association before she died and on this occasion Nuffield Health had decided to hold a Ladies Evening to support Gary in his fundraising.

Once I explained about the South Herts Branch, the Centre was very keen for a few of us to attend the evening. Lesley, Jen, Roland, and I all turned up complete with MNDA balloons, information, poster, and the Charter.

The evening ran from 5 until 9 and was quite well attended. During the course of the evening guests were able to have a “taste session” manicure or shoulder massage, with very reasonable offers available for anyone at the evening who wanted book future sessions. In addition there was a raffle and a number of stalls selling scented candles, designer shoes, scarves and handbags and jewellery.

Highlights of the evening were watching Gary Wood being spray tanned and a colleague of his having his chest waxed. Both events certainly drew the ladies!

We are waiting to hear how much money was raised but for us, an important part of the evening was to raise awareness of MNDA. Anyone attending the event could not have failed to notice our balloons and poster and a number of people spoke to us to find out more.

The Centre had hoped to follow up the event with an Extreme Charity Spin, also in aid of MNDA, but unfortunately this had to be cancelled and we are still waiting to hear if another Spin will be arranged.

The South Herts Branch would like to thank the Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre for supporting this event.

Siân Goodwin
Gary's fake tan

                                                                                               Gary showing off his new fake tan


Some of us volunteers and people from the Motor Neurone Disease Association had a fundraising/profile raising gazebo at Sir William and Lady McAlpine’s estate, Fawley Hill, near Henley in Oxfordshire. It was a quite amazing event. HUGE!! Lord McAlpine’s hobby is his steam train and railway which goes through the grounds of Fawley Hill. You can see the many animals which have been rescued and rehabilitated, roaming free and in safety.

It was an early start on Saturday to unload everything and set up the gazebo. Lin (who is with Reading Branch and an avid fundraiser) brought everything for a lucky dip, sweetie tree and tombola (over 200 prizes!) knitted dolls and her wealth of experience. I brought all my things – scarves, jewellery, kiddie things, nail files and decorated the gazebo with tissue paper pompoms, bunting and colourful things. Someone disrespectfully commented that it looked like an Aladdin’s Cave.

Sunday wasn’t quite such an early start as we left everything there overnight. This gave us more time to look around.

It was amazing – many huge vehicles which were the first steam engines – all in working order and obviously the passion of their owners. Many vintage cars all immaculately presented and their owners in many cases dressed in the fashion of the time. The army was there, with the vehicles and equipment of the past two World Wars,supporting Help for Heroes. The Red Devils (army’s version of the Red Arrows) parachuted into the central arena with coloured smoke and the UK flag flying. They have to completely fund themselves, and are always fundraising (like us!!!). All weekend various historic planes were flying overhead – loop de looping, ducking and diving - and when the Spitfires were flying overhead it was very emotive – the sound is unique. 

MNDA members at festival
Left to right – Amanda Jansen MNDA, Lesley, Lin Jenkins Reading Branch, Susanne Curtis MNDA

There were some very typically English eccentric sights to be seen – a case in point being the blue Rolls Royce in immaculate condition, with the dog under a blanket and a child eating her lunch from a picnic basket on the back seat!!!

We developed strategies throughout the 2 days of how to attract people – we gave away MNDA balloons to children and made the parents feel they had to come and look, which meant the lucky dip and tombola became a huge success. You can’t say no to little ones!

Considering that everything cost either 10p, 20p or 50p, we did extremely well and made £289 to be split between both branches.

It was not all about how much money we made. We wanted to raise the profile of Motor Neurone Disease as well. We gave away hundreds of balloons (we were blowing away constantly) and if you walked around the site you saw many blue, orange and white balloons.

I almost forgot – wonderful food was eaten there too.

I believe Sir William and Lady McAlpine intend to hold the event again next year, so I hope you will come and support us then. We extend our heartfelt thanks to them for allowing us to invade their estate.

Lesley Ralston 
A Spitfire - star of the show


On Friday May 3rd we held a quiz night. It was the first time we have done this, and fortunately we had another secret weapon. A new member of our committee is Sian Goodwin and she took over the planning for the whole event.

The event took place in St Stephen’s Church Hall in St Albans. A really lovely venue, modern and with a nice atmosphere, kitchen and plenty of parking. Sian’s friend Ian McEwen compiled the quiz and was the quiz master on the night, and he did an excellent job. We have decided we must buy a microphone – the noise level was deafening and the unruly crowd had to be brought to order frequently. The quiz was interesting, fun and not too highbrow for us mortals.

We didn’t hang about as time was tight, then while the marking was in progress, we had a delicious fish & chip supper with the beverages we all brought with us (including a glass!).

The raffle took place and I was delighted that Ian won the star prize - a bottle of Talisker Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Thanks go to Sian for all her work and to Ian for providing the entertainment and to the committee who made the evening go smoothly. We sold 79 tickets and raised £772, so this seems likely to be an annual event.

Lesley Ralston
Quiz night team
Our Patron, Dr Carol Scholes, enjoying the quiz with other health care professionals from Jacketts Field Rehabilitation Unit 


We had our AGM on 3 April with a good turnout of 42 people.

After the business of the meeting Karen Pearce, who is the Director of Regional Care for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, gave a very interesting and informative speech. She talked about the new things which are happening in the care and support for people living with MND.
AGM Presentation

Karen Pearce Director of Regional Care for the MNDA presenting at the AGM