MS Research and Relief Fund
MS Research and Relief Fund
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Volunteers at MSRRF



MSRRF is lucky to have the skills of valuable volunteers:

The support and skills they bring to the charity are invaluable and greatly appreciated. MSRRF’s board of trustees would like to thank all volunteers, past and present, for their hard work, commitment and dedication to the charity.

Anybody requiring information on volunteering can contact us on 01670 505829.

MSRRF’s volunteers selflessly give up their precious time to help our service users and are greatly valued by MSRRF for their invaluable help. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we couldn’t carry out our work without them.


MSRRF Volunteers Audrey Birchnall and Yvonne Tunney have been MSRRF volunteers for about eighteen months. Dave Farham caught up with them at the Abbey Leisure Centre where they work every week supporting the charity’s Service Users.

Dave — Have you enjoyed your time volunteering for MSRRF?

Yvonne - Yes Darren comes here (to the Abbey Leisure Centre) because he’s got MS and we were a bit wary about coming at first but it’s great with the help of people like Dennis we have found out what’s available for Darren and what help he can get and he has taken part in Art and things like that.

Audrey – Yes, Darren’s my nephew and people are so nice I really look forward to coming here. I think it’s true that you get out of life, what you put into it. I love coming here.

Yvonne – Yes I agree

Dave – What do you think about your Mam and your Aunty volunteering here Darren?

Darren – The support I get from them is great I can’t thank them enough. Well the support of everyone, is great. I do the exercises I learnt here, at home and my walking is a lot better, I can feel the benefits.

Dave - MS Research and Relief Fund provides services that hopefully improve the quality of life of people affected by MS. Do you think we are achieving this?

Yvonne – Oh yes it’s great for Darren he’s met loads of people who he would not have met because he hardly got out of the house before he started coming here.

Audrey – There’s lots of new people who have came along and keep coming back

Yvonne - Yes I love coming here and I have made lots of new friends and Darren mixes in with everybody now

Darren – Yes one hundred per cent, it’s a brilliant place to come.

Dave—  Do you feel part of the group here?

Audrey – Yes definitely, we’ve made lots of new friend especially Darren who just mixed with family really and never met other people with MS before.

Yvonne - We do things away from here socially as well, we’ve made some great friends and we are going on holiday on a Mediterranean Cruise next year.

Dave – Do you think the services the charity provide meet the needs of people with MS?

Yvonne – Yes if you stick with them like Darren does.

Audrey – Yes everybody says that they look forward to coming and hate it if the have to miss.


MSRRF would like to thank Yvonne, Audrey, Delphine, our Webmaster Glenn and all our volunteers for all their hard work and the valuable support they give to MSRRF and all our service users.

One such volunteer is Delphine Blenkinsop who tutors a very popular arts and craft class at Benmar House on the first Thursday of every month.

Delphine spoke to Dave Farham after one of the art classes.
Delphine Blenkinsop

Can you tell us a bit about yourself Delphine?

“I don't really know how to describe myself, it's funny, I was traveling

in the car with my dad the other day. He’s 77 and during a

conversation he said ‘Those of us in middle-age…’ So I'm thinking if

he's middle-aged then I'm still a teenager, which is quite nice."

“I live in Ashington, with no children or pets; I try to remain upbeat in my outlook. My artistic background includes managing print shops in Blyth and North Shields and being a manageress of a printing company.

I was then diagnosed with MS and moved on to be a supervisor of a snooker club. Before my diagnosis I gained a degree in graphic design and after diagnosis I gained a B.Ed. and became a teacher.”

“I became a member of Aurora which is an arts group in Northumberland run by a man named Brian Reed.  I advertised some of my artwork on a website and was asked to do some artwork for a corporate body but due to my circumstances it was inconvenient and I declined. I then joined ARCADIA the Northern Disability Arts Foundation formerly known as NorDAF. I'm also a member of the Newbiggin Arts Forum.

Can you tell us why or how you became a volunteer with MS Research and Relief Fund? 

I suppose it's a continuation of the mentor’s work I did with ARCADIA. I went to the General Hospital and saw an awful lot of Ali Rhind’s ‘Proggy Mats’.  I then went off to the RVI and Professor Bates said “wouldn't you like to set up a little silkscreen in the corner somewhere?” I thought yeah great.  Then when I was having my blood taken by MS Specialist Nurse Jeanette Curlis she said why don't you go up to MS Research and Relief Fund’s centre in Morpeth?'  So I telephoned and here I am."

Do you feel that the Art and Craft Class is therapeutic for people with MS?

 “I think it is, I would like to think it is. It gives  people a chance to express themselves. It can be about self achievement even if it's only putting a colour on paper. “

I couldn't help commenting myself that it is evident from chatting with people taking part in the Art Class that people seem to get a lot of self belief and self-satisfaction and I believe that feeling better about yourself  helps you to cope with your MS better.

 Do group members have a say in what they may do?

Absolutely, someone might want to do something about

birds in watercolors perhaps, another may want to do something in ink and wash. It's purely what people want to do. I might draw the line at pottery though. 

Art Tutor Delphine Blenkinsop

Delphine (Left) pictured with service user Beth Fox.

Delphine (Left) pictured with service user Beth Fox.



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