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Urquhart mum and teen son take on Ben Nevis to aid MS Society Moray Group

By Lorna Thompson

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A MORAY mum and her teenage son are preparing to tackle Ben Nevis to help people living with MS in Moray.

Alison (44) and Finlay (13) Stuart, from Urquhart, will take on the climb on October 12 for the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Society Moray Group.

The duo developed a love of walking over lockdown.

For Starbucks supervisor Alison, their walks have helped her shed nearly three stone in weight.

Milne's High School S2 pupil Finlay was motivated to boost a local cause after raising more than £800 for the Little Princess Trust and Cancer Research UK two years ago.

Alison said: "Finlay wanted to set up another charity fundraiser this year after his success the last time. He decided this time to do something for Moray MS Society as we know the co-ordinator and a few people with MS who use the services.

"They do a lot for the community they support and could benefit from some extra fundraising.

"Over lockdown we've both been doing a lot of hillwalking and Finlay was keen to do Ben Nevis.

"I was 15 stone at the time he suggested it and didn't think I'd manage to get up Ben Nevis. But I thought I'd at least try and that put me on a health kick. I'm now down to 12 stone 8 pounds."

MS Society Moray Group co-ordinator Lynne Roberts is keen to reach out to all those living with MS in the area.

The group, which works closely with MS nurse for Moray Gillian Alexander, is sending out new flyers to the region's GP practices and dental surgeries.

Mother and son duo of Alison and Finlay Stuart (13) are climbing Ben Nevis in aid of Moray MS Society in October...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Mother and son duo of Alison and Finlay Stuart (13) are climbing Ben Nevis in aid of Moray MS Society in October...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

They offer private sessions with their registered counsellor, sessions with Move4ward exercise and rehabilitation therapists, as well as a weekly exercise class at Moray Sports Centre, complementary therapy sessions and opportunities to socialise and try sports and activities.

Users of the service have even formed their own curling team, named "Wheelies and Feeties", which has competed in the Moray Province East Division 3 league since 2019.

Its curling team sprang from a taster session which left a number of participants hooked. Lynne said: "Half of the team are in wheelchairs and the other half are a bit more mobile. We've been so warmly welcomed into the league."

The team is delighted to be supported by Johnstons of Elgin, which is providing lambswool jumpers for the members, embroidered with the team logo and names.

Meanwhile the charity's counterparts in Orkney have recently invited those living with MS in Moray to join an online art class, materials for which will be funded by the Moray group.

Lynne added: "We've achieved a massive amount in the last three years but we couldn't have if it wasn't for the generosity of the people in Moray.

"People see the MS Society symbol and often assume that we get funded from a large organisation when, in fact, as a local group we self-fund for local specific services. Anything we run in Moray we have to fund ourselves. The wider MS Society also offers many valuable services which can accessed by all.

"These services and activities make such a difference to people and their whole families. They can open up a whole new social network.

"Though a very small team of committed volunteers, we have, in the last couple of years, been able to fund services such as counselling sessions and we fund a number of sessions with the team at Move4ward. Both of these services have had a huge impact on those living in the area with MS.

"Move4ward has had people taking steps that they weren't able to before, and able to balance better than before.

"Covid has hugely impacted lives all around and we need to let as many as possible know that there may be help locally for them if they are living with MS."

To contact the MS Society Moray Group, visit its Facebook page, email moray@mssociety.org.uk or phone 07592 446824.

People can donate to Alison and Finlay's fundraiser here.

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