The Wobbly Club's trip to 10 Downing Street
(6th July 2005)
After a career of travelling and living in various parts of the world Dutch born Harmen van Rijs married Helen in October 2001 and they moved to her home town of St Albans in Hertfordshire. They then moved to near by village, Sandridge in August 2003 where they established themselves within the community, especially at Sandridgebury Stables were Helen learnt to ride age 6 and now keeps her adored horse, Sam.
Sadly though after months of struggling with his walking Harmen was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in September 2004.
So many of Harmen and Helen’s friends and community wanted to help and show Harmen and Helen their support that the 'The Wobbly Club' was established. Its focus is to hold events to raise awareness and funds for MND and so far The Wobbly Club has had very generous contributions. For example Harmen’s company Willis Limited held a Quiz Night in March 2005 and raised an incredible £7,500. Helen’s Brother Dave Stead ran the London Marathon in 2005 and raised £575.
Kings College walk to Downing Street
On the 19th June Harmen, Helen along with Helen’s mother, Margaret Stead and two good friends Duncan Bennett who used to work with Harmen and Masako Kohari who Helen met while working in Japan joined over 120 others who walked from King's College in Camberwell, South London, to 10 Downing Street.
After a sweltering 3 miles in 32 degree heat on arriving at Downing, Harmen and Helen were then part of an 8 person delegation to make their way to ‘the black door’. There, Paul Wicks who organised the walk, handed over letters written by people suffering with MND and their carers to explain how they have been affected by this terrible disease.
The Wobbly Club donated £300 for the walk which added to a total reached so far of over £5,000 to be donated to the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association.
Harmen has had great support from Kings College Hospital’s Neurological Clinic who specialise in MND that Harmen would like any monies raised to be donated to the MND research carried out there. In July 2005 The Wobbly Club donated £5,000 to Kings Psychiatry Research Trust to support Professor Chris Shaw’s MND Genetics Laboratory. Money raised directly by Sandridgebury though is going to be held for Harmen’s care when needed.
To coincide with MND Awareness Week Sandridgebury Stables held a Horse Show on 18th June. This was a huge success and twice the amount of expected competitors took part. All entries though were accepted which made the poor judges job hard but made the day a big financial success, on the last count over a £1,300.
We also had some fantastic comments about the cause, one competitor saying that they had to come as their father was lost to MND and writing the entry cheque made them smile as they used to refer to him as ‘Wobbles’.
Picnic in the Paddock – 13th August 2005
The next Wobbly Club event is going to be ‘Picnic in the Paddock’ on the 13th August 05 again to be held at Sandridgebury Stables. This will feature local band ‘The Rodford Files’ who play blues, rock and a touch of jazz and has members Jim Rodford (Kinks, Argent, Zombies) on bass and Steve Rodford (Zombies, Blunstone, Argent) on drums.
Bring your own Picnic, Paddock gates open 6:00pm with the Band on at 8:00pm. A Licensed Bar will be available. Ticket’s are £10 Adults, £5 Children under 18 and are available from Sandridgebury Stables, the Green Man Public House, High Street, Sandridge or through Helen van Rijs – email@example.com
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