Overwhelming response to MND charity walk

Charity walk in tribute to John Woods who has MND

Walk organiser Adrian Smith with friends John and Tracey Woods at the start of the event with a presentation picture of the couple at Mr Smith's recent wedding - Credit: Archant

A walk in tribute to a St Neots businessman who has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease has raised more than 10 times the amount the organiser expected.

The walk, involving laps around Grafham Water, was a "hugely emotional" day for John Woods who was diagnosed with the debilitating condition earlier this year.

John, 58, of St Neots Windows, was able to walk sections at the start and finish of the trek which was held in freezing conditions. 

Adrian Smith, who organised the walk, said around 60 people took part in the event with walkers completing one or two laps of the reservoir, together with three support cyclists who handed out refreshments.

"It has raised £5,071 so far and Gift Aid will add another £1,000. I am overwhelmed really - I only expected to get about £500 and for 8-12 people to take part," said Adrian, a close friend of John's.

"The conditions were awful, it was freezing."

John was diagnosed with life-shortening MND at the end of the summer and money raised will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

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Walkers included John's wife Tracey and their three sons, together with other family members and St Neots man Lee Taylor, who also has MND, and covered part of the distance in his wheelchair.

Adrian organised the walk to show support for his friend and to raise awareness of MND.

Tracey said: "It was an amazing turnout and very emotional. John was extremely emotional because he could not believe so many people cared.

"He couldn't help being touched by the amount of people there and he was determined to take part."

Tracey said: "The money may be too late for anything to be done for John but it may help people with MND in future."

The cause of MND, which affects cells in the brain and nerves, remains unknown. It causes symptoms such as muscle weakness, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing and reduces life expectancy, although some patients can live with it for many years.

John and Tracey have owned St Neots Windows for 25 years.

Donations can be made to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Adrian-Smith66?utm_campaign=lc_frp_share_transaction_fundraiser_page_donation_received_-_nth_donation&utm_content=714f43d9-f544-4c0a-b309-1611b2afca7d&utm_medium=email&utm_source=postoffice&utm_term=1637238128740