Two years of preparation paid off handsomely when the Mid Ulster Vintage Vehicles Club presented our medical adviser, Dr Charles Shepherd, with a cheque for £23,700 at a presentation in Moneymore Presbyterian Church Hall on September 21.
Dr Shepherd (right) is seen receiving the cheque from the club's trek chairman Dennis Bell – following the club's 100-mile trek through a dozen towns and villages in July. Not counting legacies, the donation is the biggest single voluntary gift received by the MEA for at least 10 years.
Club members – the O'Neill family in particular – started working closely with our publicity manager Tony Britton over two years ago to make out the case for the club to support the MEA Ramsay Research Fund. The Fund supports ongoing biomedical research which will make a huge difference to the lives of ME sufferers throughout the UK in years to come.
An outstanding contribution to the total amount was made by Jim Scott MBE. He raised £11,000 on his own account.
We also received another cheque on the night – for £1,100 – from Brendan McPeake, lead singer with “Outbound Express”, a well-known local country music band who always supports the charity fundraising of the Mid Ulster Vintage Vehicles Club.
The ME Association wishes particularly to thank Mr John O'Neill, of Magherafelt, who rallied his family to the cause and kept us all focused. One of his sons, Ronald, has had ME for many years.
Members of the family group pictured below with Dr Shepherd are (left to right): Theodore Flanagan, John's son Richard, Terence Flanagan, Ronald O'Neill, John O'Neill and daughter Fiona. Missing from the photo is club member Tony O'Kane who was unable to be with us because of a family bereavement.