MS Newsletter Spring Summer 2022

Dear Friends

We are back in action at last. We held our first Open Day for two years and four months – and what a delight it was to see everyone. It has been a long time, but it was certainly worth waiting for, seeing everyone greeting each other like long-lost friends.

We had a fascinating talk from retired fire officer John Lowe, who took us through the history of firefighting in Oxford. He brought with him plenty of illustrations to show how different generations tackled fires and other emergencies in the city. There were plenty of questions and comments, too, from members, always a good sign that they have enjoyed the talk.

We have been forced to make changes to the way we organise our Open Days to meet new rules and regulations imposed on us by the MS Society, to keep

We were also pleased to welcome back our three therapists – Alison Wiltshire, Neil Lambert and Helen Thorpe – who were kept fully employed while the rest of us sat and chatted over welcome cups of tea. It was, as one member put it, “just like the old days”.

We hope in the near future to be able to appoint an outside caterer and we are making inquiries in several directions. Please let us know if you have ideas who might be willing to help us. We will keep you posted on what progress we make, but in the meantime, please remember to bring your own refreshments.

Our next Open Day will be on Friday, 5th August when we will welcome guitarist Cody, one of our regular and favourite entertainers. Please let Jo Hawtin know if you are coming – and don’t forget to bring your own food and drink!


Many of us have probably forgotten that we were awarded a grant of £8,708 from the National Lottery in 2020 to help run our Open Days.

It was supposed to be spent within a year but, of course, we have had no opportunity to spend any of it because we had to suspend our meetings because of Covid.

Now we are back in business, the money will help us to keep Open Days going without having to dip into our own funds.

We also hope to appoint a caterer to provide lunch for everyone, now that we can’t do it ourselves.

This is proving more difficult than we expected – caterers we have approached are willing to help once a week, but not once a month.

Talking of Open Days, we are always on the lookout for speakers and entertainers. If you know of anyone or any group worth looking at, hearing or listening to, please let John Chipperfield know. We like to make our Open Day programme as varied and interesting as possible, and all ideas will be considered.

Don’t forget – if you are coming to Open Days, please let Jo Hawtin know and remember to bring your lunch with you. We will serve tea and coffee when you arrive and after lunch.


A student at Oxford Brookes University is keen to talk to those of us with MS for a research project.

Joni Bousie is investigating physical activity and its potential relationship with chronic pain in MS.

Those taking part will have their walking and movement (gait) analysed and physical activity monitored. They will also be asked to fill in questionnaires.

Joni, who is studying for a degree in medical sciences, writes: “Finding effective treatments for pain in people with MS falls at No 9 in the top 10 research priorities list.

“It is crucial to further our understanding of how pain and physical activity may be linked in those with MS.”

Joni is keen to recruit our members to help in the study – if you would like to take part, please email


Congratulations to our former Support Officer, Jamie Inshaw, and his wife Cheryl on the birth of their baby daughter – and what a drama it was!

Grandad John Higgins turned up to mend the boiler at the couple’s home in Milton Keynes and ended up delivering the baby on the bedroom floor.

Cheryl went into labour as he set to work on the boiler, forcing him to break away and with Jamie’s help, bring baby Felicity into the world. The midwife arrived to find all the hard work had been done!

Jamie was our Support Officer for two years before moving to Milton Keynes. We wish the family well with their new arrival.

We are still looking for a new Support Officer. If you know of anyone who could fill the role, please let John Chipperfield or Jo Hawtin know. Meanwhile, if anyone needs a chat or listening ear, please call Dorothy Warner on 01235 554448 or any of our other committee members.


One decision we have to make in due course is how to conduct future collections outside shops and garden centres.

With people increasingly paying remotely instead of with cash, we face the prospect of losing money unless we move with the times.

The MS Society has an arrangement with GoodBox, a company which supplies devices for contactless donations.

However, we are told that the firm is now in financial difficulty and the MS Society has ordered that no new orders should be placed with the firm for the time being.

We have made no decision on these gadgets yet, but we will watch developments closely.


If you have any stories to tell, written poetry, created paintings and drawings or taken family photographs during the pandemic, send them to John Chipperfield at for inclusion in the next newsletter.

Share your news with the rest of us!


All views expressed in this newsletter are individual and not necessarily the view or policy of the charity or its supporters.

Together, we can be there for everyone affected by MS


All Open Days take place, 10am-4pm, at Northcourt Centre, Abingdon, OX14 1NS.

Fri. 5th August
Fri. 2
nd September

Fri. 7th October Fri. 4th November

Fri. 2nd December

Fri. 3rd February Fri. 3rd March

OPEN DAY – Cody entertains.

Popular singer and guitarist.

OPEN DAY – Jim Nicholson.

His role as Town Crier.

OPEN DAY – The Rebukes Ukulele Band. OPEN DAY – Jeff Rozelaar.

Bagels and Bacon.

OPEN DAY – Diana Woods entertains.

Popular organist and singer.


OPEN DAY – Anthony King.

Life as a Court Judge.

OPEN DAY – Speaker or entertainer to be confirmed.


Images from the past Members make cards and dance, two of the many activities we have enjoyed at Open Days in the past.


MS Society helpline 0808 800 8000 (Freephone)

MS nurse advice line 01865 234461
(The advice line is an answer machine service monitored 9am-5pm, Mon- Fri)

MS specialist nurse Sue Barnden
01865 737252
(direct line) 01865 737465 (main office)

Continence (bladder and bowel) nurse 01865 904303

MS Therapy Centre

37e Milton Trading Park, Abingdon

01235 832023
Carers Oxfordshire
0845 050 7666

MS resource centre 0800 783 0518 (Freephone) MS Trust Library & Information Service 0800 032 3839

NHS Direct – 111

Medical Emergency – 999


Group coordinator (Chairman) / Newsletter Editor

John Chipperfield 01865 374877

Administration volunteer (Secretary / Minutes) Jo Hawtin
01865 373907

Support Volunteer


Fundraising Volunteer

Alan Cusden 01865 723420

Finance volunteer (Treasurer)
Brian Hawtin
01865 373907

Transport Volunteer

Karen Bellinger 01235 534159

Committee volunteer

Dorothy Warner 01235 554448


Those of us visiting the Northcourt Centre have been impressed by the improvements carried out, both inside and out, during our absence.

Like us, the centre received a Lottery grant (in their case, £10,000) and this will pay for recent and future work. Meanwhile, it has joined the White Horse Community Lottery, in which supporters can win

prizes of up to £25,000 and support local causes at the same time. The Northcourt Centre gets 50 per cent of the ticket money sold on its page, plus 10 per cent goes to other local good causes. To give your support, go to and search for Northcourt Centre.

We will have leaflets available at our next Open Days giving full details of how the join, boost your income and help others.

What have you been doing during the coronavirus pandemic?

Tell us your experiences and we’ll let other readers know. Contributions to our quarterly newsletter are always welcome.

Call John Chipperfield on 01865 374877,
write to 3 Lambs Close, Kidlington, Oxon OX5 2YD or send an email to