Thursday, 22 December 2016

Let's get quizzical!

Let's get quizzical! 26th Jan at the Himalayan Hotspot, Tilehurst. 

Pit your wits in teams of 4 - 6.

Only £20 per person includes curry and quiz. 

Tickets to be bought in advance by contacting

All profits to BMSTC

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Latest from Martin Salter regarding the campaign to save the Royal Berkshire Hospital Hydrotherapy Pool

Just to let you know that I've obtained the necessary permission from the Council for our planned petition session outside M&S in Broad St from 10am to 2pm on Friday Dec 30th. I'm hoping Alok Sharma MP can join us for a photocall at 10.15am and have copied in Cllr Rachel Eden from RBC and Tony Jones from Unison as it would be great if Health Workers and Local Councillors could come along as well.

The Campaign Banner is designed and with the printers. (Attached)

Merry is going to get out a press release this week inviting the media along so contact her directly if you want to be quoted. Merry has also agreed to draw up a rota of petitioners so please get people to contact her with offers of help by emailing or the Berkshire DPAC email

Please spread the word and lets get a good turnout on the 30th.

Have a good Xmas


Monday, 19 December 2016

Happy Christmas and New Year from all at BMSTC

We would like to extend our warm wishes to you all for a very Happy Christmas and New Year!

The Centre will be closing this Friday 23rd December at 1.00pm and reopening at 9.00am on Tuesday 3rd January.

See you on the other side!

A BIG Thank you to Trinity Concert Band

A huge thank you to the Trinity Concert Band who played at Reading railway station last week helping us to raise a fantastic £1,273.39. 

Well done to all our collectors and thank you to everyone who gave so generously.

Have you ever heard of paroxysmal symptoms?

Source MS Trust:

Paroxysmal is a term that describes the way that some symptoms of multiple sclerosis come on very suddenly, last only a few seconds or minutes and then disappear just as quickly. Sometimes this cycle repeats a few times or, perhaps, many times in a day. Some people call them attacks, clusters, surges, episodes or intermittent symptoms. Your health professionals may call them episodic symptoms.  Read on.

Congratulations to one of our many hidden heroes!

Denise from Asda awarded our lovely Glynis with a special hidden hero pin along with a lovely bunch of flowers and fantastic cake. 

Thank you Glynis, Denise and all our volunteers for all you do for BMSTC

Reading Borough Council Adult Social Care charging and financial review - have your say on their proposals.

The Council is facing extreme financial pressures on all our budgets. As a result we are being forced to make some very tough decisions about the services we provide, including Adult Social Care Services. Read on.

Government to allow council tax increases to fund social care

Source MS Society:

Local councils in England are to be allowed to increase council tax to help raise money for social care, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed today.

These new proposals could see some local areas increasing council tax by up to 6% over the next two years.

Councils already have the power to increase it by up to 2% every year to pay for care. This is called the ‘social care precept’.  Read on.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Thames Valley Police warn drivers using motorway service stations

Message sent by
Lucy Billen (Police, Media Officer, Thames Valley Police)

Drivers using motorway services stations, particularly those along the M4 in Berkshire, are being warned that thieves could be using technology to prevent people locking their vehicles and then steal from them.
Thames Valley Police officers are warning people to make a manual check that doors are locked before leaving their vehicles.
This advice follows a spate of 14 thefts from vehicles at motorway services in Berkshire. In many of the cases there was no obvious sign of a break in and no damage was caused to the vehicles as items were stolen from them.
Officers are also appealing for anyone who visited the services during the dates outlined below and have any dashcam footage to please get in touch as they may have vital information for the investigations.
At Chieveley Moto Services on M4 at junction 13 between 24 November and 1 December two vans, two lorries and a Mercedes car were entered and items including tools, a suitcase and laptop were taken.
At Reading Moto Services M4 junctions 11-12 between 26 November and 28 November two Range Rovers, a Jaguar, a Mercedes and a Fiat 500 were all accessed by unknown means, ie no obvious sign of a break-in, and various pieces of luggage were stolen from the vehicles.
At Membury Welcome Break M4 at junctions 14 -15 between 24 November and 26 November two Land Rovers, a Mercedes and a Renault were accessed by unknown means. Luggage, wallets and cash were stolen.
Investigating officer, Sgt Alan Hawkett of Newbury Police Station said: “I strongly recommend that any members of the public visiting motorway services stations anywhere in the country keep all valuable items in their possession when away from their vehicle. Offenders may be using technology to prevent your vehicle from locking therefore we would advise a manual check of the doors before leaving your vehicle.
“I am appealing to the public who use in car dash cameras who may have been at any of the above service stations on the above dates and times to contact me. You may have captured an offence or offender on camera. I am extremely keen to review the footage.”
Anyone with any information or dashcam footage relevant to these incidents is asked to call 101 using ref 409 27/11/2016 or email

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Please help to save the Royal Berkshire Hospital Hydrotherapy Pool

A message from our patron Martin Salter:

Dear Colleague

I'm sure you've all heard the awful news about the proposed closure of the hydrotherapy pool at the Royal Berks Hospital. 

Back in 1998 I campaigned with Arthritis Matters, the MS Society and many others to ensure that the new consolidated hospital on the RBH site contained a hydrotherapy facility. We had a pool at Battle Hospital - originally paid for by Friends of Reading Hospitals - but unfortunately no provision for hydrotherapy was made in the relocation plans. We were eventually successful and I was delighted to attend the opening of the brand new pool in 2005. 

As you know hydrotherapy is an invaluable treatment for those suffering from chronic pain conditions and despite what is being claimed the pool is well used and costs very little in terms of subsidy. The letter from Dr Janet Lippett, Care Group Director at the RBH, confirms this as they acknowledge an income of £49,000 against running costs of £60,000. And given that hydrotherapy prevents many patients from having to attend hospital it is clear that closure of the pool would more than likely end up costing the NHS far more than the current administration are looking to save. With a rising elderly population the demand for hydrotherapy is only going to grow which is why it is so short sighted to be suggesting any form of closure.  

I've agreed to come out of retirement to support the campaign to keep the hydrotherapy pool open and have been in touch with my successor Alok Sharma MP who is happy to take up the issue on behalf of us all. Alok is seeking a meeting with the hospital management in the next couple of weeks and is prepared to take a small delegation from the various user groups with him. This is clearly very helpful but Alok needs lots of letters and emails to present to the hospital management backing up our case. So I've agreed to help coordinate this activity which is why I'm writing to you today. 

What needs to happen next

We would everybody to write or email Mary Sherry, Acting Chief Executive and Graham Simm, Chairman of the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust with a copy to Alok Sharma MP



Attached is an excellent letter from the MS Society which makes several important points which you might want to use. However, here a few bullet points that might be helpful to include in your correspondence. 

* I am / my friend or family member / is a sufferer of Arthritis / Multiple Sclerosis /  Fibromyalgia  / Parkinson's / Chronic Back Pain / INSERT OTHER CONDITION and a regular user of the Hydrotherapy Pool at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

* Hydrotherapy has proved invaluable for me in dealing with my chronic condition and not only brings relief from pain but prevents me from relapsing and having to become reliant on other more expensive NHS services. 

* There is no other public hydrotherapy pool within 30 miles of Reading and should the RBH pool close I will experience even greater levels of pain and my condition could well deteriorate still further. 

* The pool is well used by in patients during the day and by the various charities and groups in the evening including MS Society, Arthritis Care, Fibromyalgia Support Group, Parkinson's Society and others. These groups contribute a substantial sum towards the running costs of the pool. 

* Many of us also pay for our own physiotherapists to work with us in the evenings at the pool. These physiotherapists firmly believe that hydrotherapy is essential in the treatment of conditions such as mine.

* I must ask you to reconsider the decision to close the hydrotherapy pool and to provide me with a full assessment of the impact on patient care, the likely increase in demand on other hospital services and to tell me where else I would be able to receive affordable hydrotherapy treatment which is vital for both my condition and for providing me with some relief from chronic pain?

* Furthermore I must insist that this matter is bought before the Council of Governors at the RBH so that all aspects can be properly and transparently examined. 

* I am sending a copy of this correspondence to Alok Sharma MP 

There a number of potentially supportive Governors at the RBH who you might also like to contact or to copy into your correspondence. The ones that I know include the following but I'm sure there are others. 

The full governors list can be found here:

There may be other points you wish to make so do include anything you think would be helpful but please get writing today and let's build a strong campaign to get this unacceptable decision reversed. Please circulate this information to as many people as possible.

We will be in touch again soon to advise you of further initiatives and a possible press photo call. 

Best Wishes

Martin Salter

Former MP for Reading West and Patron of Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Collectors needed for Wokingham Street Collection, Thursday 8th December

Help!! Please can anyone help us by collecting at Wokingham Street Collection on Thursday 8th December? If so please can you call Kirsten or Tracy on 0118 9016000 or email
or  Many thanks for your help in advance!

Thank you to all the BMSTC Merry Santas!

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Roc Search Reading Charity Santa Run  especially the BMSTC Merry Santas! 

Christmas is definitely on its way!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Christmas closing dates

We will be closing the Centre for Christmas on Friday 23rd December at 1.30pm and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 3rd January.

There will be a limited volunteer led oxygen therapy service in between these dates.

Wednesday 28th December, 4.00pm 16.5' & 6.00pm 33'

Saturday 31st December 10.00am, 33' & 12.00 noon 33'

Please ask at reception or call 0118 9016000 for more information and take an information sheet with further contact details.

Royal Berkshire Hydrotherapy Pool set for closure

Source Reading Chronicle:

UPDATE: Sign a campaign to help save the Hydrotherapy Pool here!

A THERAPEUTIC hospital swimming pool used by multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's sufferers is to be closed down early next year.

On March 31 the hydrotherapy pool at Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) will stop operating, shutting out the hundreds of out-patients who rely on its facilities for low-stress, pain-preventing exercise.  Read on.

Fatigue in MS and what to do about it.

Interesting article from MS Nurse, Miranda.

(Note -   BMSTC offers APS Therapy, Oxygen Therapy and a range of exercise classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Physio which can help manage fatigue.)

"Fatigue – that horrible overwhelming inability to do another thing, sometimes even to think straight, is one of the most disabling invisible problems of MS. When I took a poll of the top symptoms that people wanted to troubleshoot in a holistic way, Fatigue was top. So here goes:"  Read on.

A great example of a supporting employer

Source MS Society:

"They were so supportive. I took a few days off to digest the news and they told me to come back to work when I was ready. The first thing they did was assure me that my job was safe." We spoke to Chris about MS and the value of having a supportive employer:  Read on

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Smart phone app designed to help disabled people find empty blue badge parking spaces being trialled in Reading

A smartphone app designed to help disabled people find empty blue badge parking spaces is being trialled.

Sensors have been placed in 70 disabled bays in Reading which will detect when vehicles are occupying the designated spaces.

These will then send updates on vacant spots to the app users' mobile devices.

The EU-funded project, called SIMON, is also being piloted in cities in Spain, Portugal and Italy.  Read on. 

Need advice with Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

Citizens Advice offer a wealth of information and support on PIP, you can also chat to an advisor online - visit their website for more information

Thank you to everyone who voted for BMSTC in the Aviva Community Fund

Thank you for everyone who voted for us in the Aviva Community Fund. Sadly we have not been shortlisted this time but thank you for all your support, it is great to know so many people care.

Shopping online this Christmas? Then please support BMSTC by using Give as you Live

Christmas Shopping season is truly among us - are you braving the shopping centre this year or shopping online? By using Give as you Liveyou raise money for us while you shop at no extra cost. Register for free at

Argos launch a contemporary range of independent living products

Argos launched a contemporary new range of independent living products, with a host of fantastic tools, gadgets and aids available online which can help you to maintain your independence and rely less on others to help you.  Visit their website here.

MS Society calling for urgent social care funding

Source MS Society:

We’ve joined more than 100 charities and professional groups calling on the Government to urgently address the social care crisis in the UK.

The Government’s investment in social care has fallen by a third over the past five years – that’s £1.6 billion. This has left more than one million people unable to get the care they need.  Read on. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Unwanted gifts or nearly new items needed for our shop

If you have any unwanted gifts or nearly new items please do consider donating them for us to sell in our shop.  Unfortunately we are unable to accept electrical items or clothing.

Many thanks for your help.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Please vote for BMSTC - the more votes, the more chance we get of receiving funding from Aviva

The Aviva Community Fund offers you the chance to get funding for an important cause in your community.
Open to everyone - Aviva customers, employees, insurance brokers or financial advisers (whether associated with Aviva or not) and the general public - we want you to enter a project for your community and tell us what a difference these much-needed funds could make.

Get enough votes from friends, family and supporters in your community and your project could be entered into the Finals, where a judging panel will award the funds.  Vote for BMSTC here!

Ampyra Helps MS Patients Not Only Walk Better, But Feel Better Too, Study Reports

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

Results from a Phase 2 clinical trial showed that treatment with Ampyra (prolonged-release fampridine) brought both physical and psychological benefits to patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).  Read on.

Age of onset for multiple sclerosis 'linked to distance from equator'

Source The Guardian:

People living in countries further away from the equator develop symptoms of multiple sclerosis at an earlier age, research suggests.

Both genetic and environmental factors are believed to be to behind the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), with previous work revealing that prevalence of the disease is higher among those living further away from the equator - in other words, in locations with higher latitudes.  Read on. 

Please vote for Sue Robertson for the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the year!

Please vote for Sue Robertson! Sue and her husband Graham ( Graham has MS and is a member of BMSTC) co-founded the Disabled Golf Association. They have been established over 6 years and have 1,000 members. 

Voting is very simple, please click here to vote.

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who helped at the Christmas Fair

Thank you to everyone who helped or came along and supported our Christmas Fair last Saturday.

The BMSTC Link Group put in a huge amount of time and effort to organise this event along with help from many of our wonderful volunteers.  We are delighted to announce that the grand total raised was a huge £1,278.67p!

We are very grateful to Sangeeta Bhabra, from ITV Meridian News, who officially opened the event for us.   You can watch a clip of the opening, kindly filmed by our reflexologist Chill B, here!

Employment review finds people with MS lack support at work

Source MS Society:

Many people with MS who feel able to work aren’t getting the right support in the workplace. This is according to a new report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for MS.

This follows a year-long review into whether people with MS have the support they need to stay in, or get back into, work.  Read on.

The MS Society are calling for urgent social care funding.

Source MS Society:

We’ve joined more than 100 charities and professional groups calling on the Government to urgently address the social care crisis in the UK.

The Government’s investment in social care has fallen by a third over the past five years – that’s £1.6 billion. This has left more than one million people unable to get the care they need.  Read on. 

The 4Bones supporting our friends at the Reading, Wokingham and District MS Society.

Last year, the 4Bones met Santa at the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre Christmas Fair. This year, they are giving a concert at Wesley Methodist Church for the Reading and Wokingham MS Society.

They will be playing a selection of light music with lots of Christmas tunes, including some carols which you will want to sing along to.

Refreshments (to include a mince pie) will be served during the interval.

Tickets cost £10 for adults, £5 for children and are available from Rose Tocock (0118 986 2591) and Gwen Burke (0118 961 6073)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

New drugs to face NHS affordability test

Source MS Society:

Proposed changes to the drug approval process mean NHS England will assess how much they can afford to pay for new drugs.

Under the plan, new drugs that are expected to cost the NHS more than £20 million a year would be subject to a ‘budget impact test’.  Read on.

Grow Your Tenner

Grow Your Tenner is live!  Donate now and Local Giving will match it up to £10!

BMSTC will get £21.67 for every £10 with Gift Aid donated during
#GrowYourTenner - starting this week!  Please support us

FDA Approval of 1st Progressive MS Treatment Awaited by Neurologists, Survey Finds

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

Neurologists in the U.S. expect — or, at least, highly anticipate — that Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), being developed by Roche as a treatment for both relapsing and progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), will be approved by year’s end, and a sizable number plan on quickly prescribing it, according to a recent update by Spherix Global Insights in “RealTime Dynamix: Multiple Sclerosis,” a quarterly report based on responses from over 100 neurologists actively treating MS patients.  Read on.

MS Society strikes Gold!

Source MS Society:

We are thrilled to announce Paralympic gold medallists Stephanie Millward and Kadeena Cox as our new MS Society Ambassadors.

Stephanie and Kadeena have already been helping us raise awareness of MS and getting involved in our community. They’ve been spreading the word about the work we do, meeting our supporters and participating in events, like the MS Walk and our MS Awards.  Read on.

Thank you to everyone who took part or helped with Go Loch Ness

Woo hoo! We made it to Loch Ness, to the Whisky, back again and a few extra miles for Ice cream! We have over 624 reasons to be proud. Thank you to everyone who took part and Marieke, Fran and Charlotte for volunteering. We could not have done any of this without our truly amazing physiotherapy team who continue to make such a positive difference every day for our members. Whisky and Nessie winners to be notified shortly...

Funding for Portsmouth scientist, researching multiple sclerosis

Source ITV News:

A University of Portsmouth scientist has won almost £180,000 to fund research that could help develop treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Dr Sassan Hafizi, a senior lecturer in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, has been awarded £177,930 by the MS Society to investigate the potentially beneficial role of a molecule found in the nervous system.  Read on.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Winter Ball - Saturday 12th November 2016

Join us for our first ever Winter Ball - a fantastic night of dinner and dancing whilst supporting the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre.
We have teamed up with seven other charities to organise a Charity Ball coming to the Reading Hilton this autumn.

As well as supporting the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, you will have a wonderful 3-course meal, a great band to dance to and a brilliant evening to remember.  For more info click here.

DMTs can reverse MS symptoms for some people

Source MS Society:

Disease modifying treatments (DMTs) may be able to reverse the symptoms caused by MS for some people with relapsing MS. This is according to new research published in the Journal of NeurologyRead on.

MS Drug could reverse physical symptoms

Source Medical News Today:

A drug that treats relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis - a form of multiple sclerosis that accounts for around 85 percent of people with the condition - has been revealed to reverse some of the damage caused by the disease. This revelation may have implications for future therapeutic strategies for people with the neurological disease. Read on.

Potential Therapy, Laquinimod, Shows Promise as Progressive MS Treatment in Mouse Study.

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

The experimental therapy laquinimod was seen to prevent the start of harmful immune responses and to disrupt the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) in a mouse model of the disease. This finding may be especially promising, as the treatment is being developed for people with both relapsing MS and its rarer progressive form, for which no treatment currently exists.  Read on.

Don't forget your Flu Jab

Source NHS:

Stay well this Winter - make sure you get your flu jab.  For more information click here.

£2 million of new MS research

Source MS Society:
We’re proud to announce that 11 new projects have secured funding through our 2016 grant round.

From investigating if a stroke drug could repair damage caused in MS to testing the benefits of specialist rehab, these projects cover a wide range of topics.  Read on.

Emma, Keith and baby Thea Saunders

Many of you will remember Emma Saunders who worked as our Fundraiser for a number of years, and her sister Sharon who used to attend the Centre. 

We are delighted to let you know that Emma and Keith recently welcomed their baby Thea into the world!   They have kindly set up a Just Giving Page for Thea's naming ceremony to raise money for BMSTC.  If you would like to show your support please visit their page here.

We thank the Saunders family for their on-going support to BMSTC.

Monday, 10 October 2016

An Invitation to be Mindful by Dr Louise Nairn

We held an Introduction to Mindfulness session earlier this month with thanks to Dr Louise Nairn who freely gave her time.  Louise has written an article for our next newsletter about Mindfulness.

 “You only have moments to live”. These were the words I used to open and close the recent mindfulness session at BMSTC last week. They are from Jon Kabat-Zinn  and convey the central meaning of living mindfully: getting the most out of every moment instead of being swept along by thoughts about our past, problems, future and the accompanying emotions. In a mindful mode we can create space to respond in new ways to situations and make wise decisions.

I am a clinical psychologist with MS. I am in a good position to experience first hand the benefits of mindfulness while managing the vagaries of a chronic and unpredictable illness. The session at BMSTC was an opportunity to share this with people on a similar journey. We spent an interesting hour discussing what mindfulness is and its potential benefits and limitations. Of course being mindful is an experience, a stillness of being, and together we tried out two meditations and a mindful practice of eating a raisin. Eating raisins mindfully is not as daft as it sounds as it allowed us to use all 5 senses to change a mundane experience (eating, drinking, sitting) into an opportunity to cherish a moment in life.

We closed our session with a discussion about establishing a mindful practice at home. I hope you have been inspired to try one yourself. It is not difficult and may offer some peaceful moments to enjoy.

 · Choose a suitable place and time. Set a timer for 1, 2, 5 – however many you want – minutes.

· Sit up straight in a chair, feet on floor, eyes closed and hands resting on lap.

· Bring attention to your breathing. Notice where you feel it in your body and breathe naturally.

· Your mind will wander – that is natural. When you notice it has wandered gently bring it back to the breath and mindfully notice where it wandered: “thinking”, “listening”, “itching”, “pain”.

Remember, you only have moments to live.

“Oh I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.” (Nadine Stair, poet)

Monday, 3 October 2016

Information and Advice about Benefits - Newbury 15th October 2016

The MS Society invites you to attend a free talk to hear the latest information and advice about benefits.  15th October 2016 10.30am - 1pm

This talk is open to all affected by MS and is a great opportunity to meet others.  For more information click here.

Monday, 26 September 2016

2016 BMSTC Satisfacton Results

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our satisfaction survey.  We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response and look forward to developing some of your ideas.
You can read the full survey results here.

Introducing Pete Bowsher as the new BMSTC Chairman!

We are delighted that Trustee, Pete Bowsher, has stepped up as BMSTC Chairman to replace Yvonne.
A message to you from Pete:
I am very honoured to accept the role of chairman of trustees for the Therapy Centre. I have been a member since diagnosis in 2001 and after retirement from the Royal Air Forcer Regiment in 2005 have been receiving regular and excellent therapies that have really assisted my ability to maintain my independence.

I spent five years on the committee of the military support group for those that have served and are affected by MS aided by MS National, I then became a trustee of the centre some 10 years ago. I can assure you all that the Berkshire Therapy Centre stands head and shoulders above the many centres that I have visited across the country. I have on many occasions declared it to be a centre of excellence, due to what it provides for those with MS and those that are affected by MS and of course the quality of all staff and therapists that make up the professional team that support us all.

I will endeavour to be a good chairman and will be there for all.



Yvonne Parks steps down as BMSTC Chair and into our new Events and Community Fundraiser post!

We are delighted to welcome Yvonne to our staff team and wish her the best of luck! 
A message to you from Yvonne:
"My names Yvonne Parks, some of you may already know me or seen me around the centre over the years. I have been involved with the BMSTC since 2008 having been diagnosed with MS in December 2007.

Firstly, I became a member of the centre in February 2008 and attend the centre for oxygen therapy twice a week and physiotherapy when required. Over the years I have helped with fund raising and supported our members and fund raisers by attending charity events such as the Reading marathon, rugby events, street collections and charity dinners, with help at the street collections from my two dogs Alfie & Molly, who have their own MS Therapy Centre tabards and have actually helped to increase my collection rate.

After a few years I was honoured to be asked to join the board of trustees, who do a great job in keeping the centres best interest at heart. Having been in this role for over 5 years, in 2015 I was even more delighted to be asked to become chairman of the centre and took over from Ian Languish at this year’s AGM.

In August 2016 the part time role of Community Fund Raiser became available, for which I applied and delighted to say, was successful. I looked at this as an opportunity to become more involved with fund raising along with Sam and her team and to use my skills to add to the great work the team already do on a day to day basis. Due to being successful with my application unfortunately, my time as chairman was very short lived and I had to resigned.

However, I feel very excited about my new position which starts on Monday 26th September 2016, I see this as a great opportunity to help and support the already successful team at the BMSTC.
My family and I feel passionately about supporting the centre, not just because of my diagnosis but for all of you too, we are all in this together and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with you all and meeting you all more on a daily basis.

Best wishes for great future
I look forward to seeing you all on Monday

Go Loch Ness starts today raising funds for Physiotherapy!

Speak to Sam or Henriette to find out how you can join in on 0118 901 6000 or email

More than £10 million to be spent on progressive MS research

Source MS Society:

The International Progressive MS Alliance has awarded three £3.6 million grants to researchers accelerating the pace of progressive MS research.

The Alliance is a worldwide collaborative of MS organisations co-founded by the MS Society. More than 2.3 million people around the world live with MS and more than one million of those have a progressive form of the condition.  Read on.

Antioxidant Lipoic Acid Appears to Slow SPMS Patients’ Neurodegeneration

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

A pilot study exploring the antioxidant lipoic acid in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) demonstrated that treatment for two years reduced the speed of brain tissue loss and improved the patients’ walking speed.  Read on.

Need help completing your PIP Form?

 Communicare can help with advice, information and support.:

"We can offer assistance with all matters benefits related.

We are able to complete benefit checks for you to assess what benefits you are entitled to and what level of payment you can expect.

We can assist you with benefit claims, both on-line applications and paper applications.

We can advice you on Mandatory Reconsideration for benefits and help you prepare for appeal."  For more information click here.

2 Rounds of Lemtrada Seen to Effectively Treat MS Relapses for Years

ECTRIMS Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) as a first treatment option for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) patients reduced relapse rates and disability progression throughout a study period of six years — although most patients received treatment only in the first two years. The study showed that Lemtrada has the potential to harness disease activity in the long run.  Read on.

Friday, 23 September 2016

BMSTC Centre Feedback Survey will close on Monday 26th September

Thank you to everyone who has completed our feedback survey.  There is still time for your views to be heard - forms are available at the Centre or online click here It  is your Centre and this is your chance to have your say!

We will publish the results later in the autumn. 

Many thanks for your help.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Volunteers needed to help with APS Therapy

Action Potential Simulation (APS) is a relative new pain relief treatment offered at the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre. It is a non-invasive electrical treatment. The treatment takes place 3 times a week over an 8 week period. Each user get a fully detailed treatment plan drawn up by the physiotherapist showing where to place the electrodes. The following sessions are run by volunteers. This is where we need your help. During the sessions the volunteer will help to place the electrodes and set the dosage according to the treatment plan. There will always be a staff member available should there be any doubts.

We run the therapy Monday to Friday from 10.00. We are especially keen to get some help Tuesdays and Thursday.

Please visit the following website for further information about APS:

If you are interested in helping us or have any questions please contact Mohamed or Henriette on 0118 901 6000 or email or

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

MS Patient’s Pick of the Week’s News: Myelin Repair, Shape Changers, Misdiagnoses, and Virtual Reality

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

Here is my Pick of the Week’s News, as published in Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

Can you spare two hours to support the Berkshire MS Therapy Centre? We need you!

Could you help collect at Lidl, Oxford Road, Reading on either Friday 23rd or Saturday 24th September?

Please spare a couple of hours to support the Centre.  If you can help contact Tracy or Kirsten on 0118 901 6000 or email  or

Thank you!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Do you enjoy working on your balance, core stability and flexibility?

Why not try the Pilates class at BMSTC, Thursdays 10.00 - 11.00am

For people with MS Pilates can be of great benefit in numerous ways, in particular with improving balance, gait problems (upper and lower limb strengthening), facilitating good breathing, strengthening the core (improving trunk stability), creating better posture awareness, helping to focus the mind and the body together, relaxation, stretching and strengthening of specific muscle groups and increasing correct muscular and neurological balance alignment and patterning.
Please contact Henriette on 01189016000 or

Earlier Detection, Timely Treatment for MS, Parkinson’s Possible with Virtual Reality Tool.

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

Scientists at Russia’s Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) and Siberian State Medical University (SSMU), both in Tomsk, have developed a diagnosis system for neurodegenerative diseases in the early stages. The system uses virtual reality (VR) technology to immerse a subject in a virtual environment during functional tests designed to detect early symptoms of diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and others. The researchers change the virtual environment parameters and record results in the subject’s movements. The technical stage of the joint project is expected to be completed in 2017.  Read on.

Our Tracy and Amy will be running a total of 39.3 miles between them!

Our Tracy and Amy will be running the Bournemouth Half and Full Marathon on the 2nd October - a grand total of 39.3 miles between them! If you would like to show them your support, please see their Virgin Money Giving page

 Go girls, you can do it!

MS Documentary seeking interviewees

I am a student at The London Film School producing a documentary film about the experience of water therapy for MS patients and we are looking for interviewees.

The film seeks to convey the benefits of the therapy, in particular, the way it creates a sense of freedom and escape for patients suffering from MS.

As a part of the documentary, we are interviewing MS patients about their own personal experience and understanding of water therapy and about how they live and cope with having MS in general. You don't have to have personally experienced water therapy but it is preferred.
Aside from the humanitarian benefit of participating, we can offer to pay those chosen as interviewees a fair sum.

 Let me know if you’re interested. I can be contacted via email at this address:

Thank you!


Half of people with MS have faced ‘unacceptable’ mistreatment

Source MS Society:
Almost half (45%) of people with MS feel they have experienced mistreatment or stigma because of their symptoms, according to our most recent survey.
Our report showed that 49% of people with MS have been accused of being drunk because they were having trouble walking. Another 47% say they’ve been told they are exaggerating the extent of their MS because they ‘look so well’.  Read on.

MS Trust launches campaign to fund new MS nurses in areas of greatest need.

Source MS Trust:
A new report published today by the MS Trust shows that 64 per cent of people living with MS in the UK – around 68,000 people – live in areas where there aren’t enough MS nurses to provide vital care and support. This is why we’re launching a campaign to fund new nurses in the areas of greatest need and to make sure no one has to manage MS alone.  Read on.

Christmas Cards!

A debate is raging at the Centre - is it too early to buy Christmas Cards? BMSTC has a lovely range of Christmas Cards but if you see some you like please be quick as it you don't want miss out on your favourite design! Just £3.95 and all profits to support the Centre

Friday, 2 September 2016

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who came in to help with our photographer this week and please accept our apologies for any disruption to your treatments.

We will make the photographs available for people to view or download for anyone who wants their own copy in due course.  Some of the images will be used on our new website which is being developed and also for other publications and fundraising applications.

Once again, many thanks for all of your help and support.

Breast cancer drug shows potential to repair myelin

Source MS Society:

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have found a new way to repair myelin using a well-established treatment for breast cancer.

Tamoxifen has been used to treat breast cancer since the early 1970s, but research has revealed some previously unknown benefits of the treatment.  Read on.

Interesting article on Oxygen Therapy

Source The

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) yet. As a complex neurodegenerative disease of the brain, it is incredibly difficult to treat. Despite the development of new and sophisticated therapies to control the inflammation and physical symptoms of the disease, these treatments don’t work for everyone. This is because MS comes in many guises and one treatment does not fit all. Perhaps for this reason people with MS are turning to alternative means of controlling their condition.  Read on.

Wanted - Unwanted Gifts!

Do you have any unwanted gifts, or nearly new items that we could sell in our shop at the Centre? If so please bring them in for Ros to display. (Please note we are unable to accept electrical items.) Many thanks!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Encouraging results in secondary progressive MS trial

Source MS Trust:

The EXPAND trial involved 1,651 people who took either siponimod or placebo capsules once a day for up to five years. A press release by Novartis, who make siponimod, announced that people on treatment took longer to show signs of progression than people on placebo. Progression was measured by EDSS scores taken every three months. Other measures used in the study, includes measuring progression with EDSS every six months, have not yet been made public.  Read on.

One in 10 people with MS could face disability benefit cuts

Source MS Society:

 We’ve published new figures today which reveal the severe extent of possible benefits cuts for people living with MS.

We estimate that more than a thousand people with MS have already had their benefits downgraded since Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for some.  Read on.

Early Bird Collectors Needed!

Are you an early bird? We are looking for some early morning collectors to join us at Reading Station on Friday 9th and/or Friday 16 September between 7 and 9am. Free parking is available. This was one of the top collection times in May and we don't want to waste the opportunity.

Please contact Kirsten or Tracy to join us.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Photographer is coming and we need you!

We will have a photographer at the Centre on the mornings of:
  • Wednesday 31st August
  • Thursday 1st September
We are looking for people to be in the photos and show case the charity.

If you have treatments on a Wednesday or Thursday they will carry on as normal.

If you prefer not to be in the photos simply let us know.

If you are happy to be photographed, even if you are normally in on a different day, please email Pip or Sam or

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Go West the sequel - Go Loch Ness!

After the success of Go West last year, we are aiming to get ourselves to Loch Ness this year, an epic 564 mile challenge!  

We can only do this if everyone gets involved...anyone with MS is welcome to join us - see Sam (  or Henriette (
)  for more details.

Go West the sequel - Go Loch Ness!

After the success of Go West last year, we are aiming to get ourselves to Loch Ness this year, an epic 564 mile challenge!  

We can only do this if everyone gets involved...anyone with MS is welcome to join us - see Sam (  or Henriette (
)  for more details.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

MS Nurse and OT Clinic

The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Need to see an MS Nurse Specialist?
Meet with one of the team at :-
West Berkshire Therapy Centre Thatcham
Or MS Therapy Centre Reading
Or Newbury Rugby Club
To make an appointment phone 01183225369 or email:
Dates are as follows:-
  • Wed 7th Sept :10-1130 Newbury rugby club
  • Thurs 22nd Sept: 1.30 -3 Berkshire MS Therapy Centre
  • Fri 7th Oct: 12-1.30 West Berks Therapy Centre
  • Wed 2nd Nov: 10-1130 Newbury rugby club
  • Thurs 13th Nov: 1.30 -3 Berkshire MS Therapy Centre
  •  Fri 9th Dec: 12-130 West Berks Therapy Centre

Potentially thousands with MS missing out on crucial treatments

 Source MS Society:
 A sizeable amount of people living with MS are at risk of being forgotten by the NHS.

One in ten of those with relapsing MS haven’t seen an MS nurse or neurologist for over a year. Among this group, just 12% are taking a disease modifying therapy (DMT) which could reduce relapses and slow progression of MS.

However, 73% of those who have seen a specialist within the last year are taking a DMT.  Read on.

New Pre-HSCT Treatment May Make Stem Cell Transplants a Safer Option for MS Patients.

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a method for stem cell transplants that may do away with the need for prior systematic treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If successful, stem cell transplants could be an option for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), an option now limited by the risk of severe toxicity triggered by the chemotherapy.  Read on.

Waitrose Oxford Road Green Tokens

A green token update: As you may know, we have been chosen as the one of the good causes supported by Waitrose Oxford Road. As of this lunchtime we were joint first. If you shop at Waitrose, please vote for us (we are the middle one) so we can get the gold medal at the end of the month. Please share will everyone you know!

Researchers trick our cells into treating UTIs without antibiotics

Source: Science Alert
New research shows that our bodies own immune systems have another way to fight off urinary tract infections (UTIs) without antibiotics - and it's super effective.  This is a pretty big deal, seeing as UTIs are one of the most common infections treated with antibiotics in humans – something that’s contributing to the rise of drug-resistant superbugs.
 Read on.

Windsor Half Marathon, Saturday 25th September.

We will be at the Windsor Half Marathon for the first time this year and are looking for some heroes to join us - are you up or someone you know up for it? Only a few places left!  Please email or call Sam on 0118 901 6000.

Looking to add some Glitz and Glamour to your social calendar?

We have just the thing for you. Book your tickets for the Charity Ball taking place on Saturday 12th November at the Reading Hilton.

It promises to be a night to remember. For more information and to book your tickets contact Sam on 0118 901 6000 or email

Can you help collect at Sainsbury's Tadley

We are desperate for collectors to help at Sainsbury's Tadley on Saturday 3rd September 9am - 11am and 5pm to 7pm.  Please contact Kirsten or Tracy on 0118 901 6000 or email  Many thanks.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Scientists have discovered never-before-seen vessels in the brain

Source Science Alert:

Scientists in the US have discovered a new series of lymphatic vessels in the body that link the brain to the immune system - a connection researchers had previously thought didn't exist.

The discovery could not only prompt a rewrite of the textbooks, it might also lead to a new understanding of how our immune system influences our brain and our behaviour. Read on.

Is it possible to get stronger just by thinking about exercise?

Source BBC:

Could simply thinking about exercise – without so much as lifting a finger – really do the trick?
It sounds incredibly unlikely, but ‘motor imagery’ is a technique often used by top athletes, and some studies suggest that you can use it to improve your strength by mental training alone.
Trust Me, I’m a Doctor teamed up with The University of Northampton’s Professor Tony Kay to put this wonderfully weird idea to the test  Read on

Finally, Attention Switches To Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

Source Managed Care Mag.

A surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. A new drug that targets CD20-positive B cells may change that.  Read on.

Panthera Ultralight wheelchair available

"Panthera wheelchair. Ultra lightweight wheelchair with detachable wheels and foldable back. Made from a “chrome-moly” (lightweight steel) frame – only 10.5 kilos. 42 cm seat. Two sets of hand rims – metal or rubber coated. For sale with the proceeds going as a donation to BMSTC". Please email

Effect of cholesterol medicine on inflammatory diseases mapped

Source: Science Daily

The cholesterol medicine simvastatin, which is one of the most commonly used pharmaceuticals in the world, also has a beneficial effect on the immune defense system with regard to diseases such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Danish researchers have now explored why this is so, and their findings may result in improved treatment.  Read on.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Rough Guide to Accessble Britain

Great days out have never been to accessible.  The brand new sixth edition of the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain is now available to view for free via our online reader.  It’s packed with over 200 inspiring ideas for fantastic worry-free days out with reviews, hints and tips on some of the UK’s best attractions written by and for disabled people.  For more click here.

Could the gut microbiome be a new therapeutic target for multiple sclerosis?

Source EurekAlert:

New Rochelle, NY, July 6, 2016--An increasing number of clinical studies are pointing to a link between the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) and the composition of microbes in the human gut,  sparking new research on the gut microbiome as a potential target for MS treatment and prevention.  Read on

Siponimod Effective in Reducing Disease Activity in Relapsing=-Remitting MS

Source Neurology Advisor:

Results from the 24-month extension of the phase 2 BOLD study demonstrated no new safety concerns and low disease activity in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) treated with siponimod.  Read on.

Newly Approved therapy reduces frequency of Multiple Sclerosis relapses by 54%


Biogen and AbbVie have been granted EU marketing authorization for Zinbryta (daclizumab), to treat adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Relapse frequency per year was shown to be reduced by up to 45% against other treatments, and 54% against placebo.  Read on.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Designer Creates a Line of Jeans Specifically for Wheelchair Users

Source: The Mighty

Heidi McKenzie has always loved fashion.

As a child, she insisted on picking out her own outfits. As a teen, she designed her junior year prom dress with the help of her aunt. And as an adult, McKenzie is the mind behind an innovative new fashion line.

McKenzie studied fashion merchandising in the hopes of becoming a buyer for an apparel store. But after a 2007 car accident that left her a paraplegic at the age of 21, she discovered a new vision.  Read on.

New report calls for neurology care to be delivered closer to home

Source MS Trust:

The Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network launches a new report (link is external) calling for improvements in neurological services provided in the community.

The report slams the current provision of care for people with long-term neurological conditions, describing it as unsatisfactory from all perspectives, including those of patients, carers and commissioners (the people who plan and buy services). It draws a picture of care that is centred around institutions rather than patients, and cautions that this lack of integrated care results in delayed access to expert advice, particularly in times of crisis.  Read on.

Boars Bridge Festival this weekend!

Come and join us at Boars Bridge Festival this weekend!

Tickets will be available on the gate:

£20 Weekend Ticket
£15 Saturday only Ticket
£10 Sunday only Ticket

There are some great performers lined up with the Mark Nelson Blues Trio headlining on Saturday night.

For more information see:

Four new risk genes associated with multiple sclerosis discovered

Source EurekAlert:

Scientists of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry have identified four new risk genes that are altered in German patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The results point to a possible involvement of cellular mechanisms in the development of the disease, through which environmental influences affect gene regulation. The research project was supported by the German Competence Network Multiple Sclerosis (KKNMS).  Read on.

AGM Presentation by Dr Claire Rice available on YouTube

Many thanks to everyone who came along to our AGM last week. We filmed our guest speaker, Dr Claire Rice, so we could share her fantastic presentation  "MS - Current understanding & research priorities" for those who were unable to attend the meeting.  To watch click here.

Myelination Relies on Mechanical Stimuli Like That Used for Bone Repair, Study finds.

Source Multiple Sclerosis News Today:

Researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Hunter James Kelly Research Institute (HJKRI) discovered that the cells that form myelin in the nervous system respond to mechanical stimulation by activating molecules from a specific pathway, which are transferred to the nucleus, triggering myelination.  Read on.

Rituximab Better than Fingolimod for Preventing Relapses in Multiple Sclerosis Patients.

Source MD
Preventing relapses for patients with highly active multiple sclerosis (MS) is more easily accomplished with rituximab than with fingolimod, according to findings published in the Annals of Neurology.   Read on.

Caroline Wyatt 'utterly overwhelmed' by support as she reveals she is stepping down from BBC reporting duties after multiple sclerosis diagnosis

Source BBC:
Caroline Wyatt, the veteran BBC war correspondent, is to step down from reporting duties after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

The BBC announced yesterday that Wyatt, who has spent more than twenty years at the corporation, had battled with the symptoms of MS, which can include fatigue and impaired mobility, for a number of years, but had only recently been diagnosed with the condition.  Read on.

MS - New therapy but a dilemma for patients

Multiple sclerosis in the body's cells
Source BBC News:

There has been a widespread welcome for news that a new therapy involving stem cell transplants has halted or reversed the symptoms of advanced multiple sclerosis in a small number of patients. Read on.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Power Chair for Sale

One of our members has a Power Chair for sale:

Good working order and comes with battery charger. I have used indoors only but could be used outside. Wheel base 22 inches. Total width 23 inches. Black leather seat, very comfortable. I bought it 2nd hand originally and used it for about a year. Reason for selling is its too wide for my hallway and looking for smaller model. Machine would be around 3 - 5 years old. Haven't had any problems with it.

Free of charge with a donation to BMSTC - available from July. If you are interested please email

New treatment can 'halt' multiple sclerosis, says study