Friday 27th February 2004
A charity which supports sufferers of multiple sclerosis has picked up the keys to a new minibus, thanks in part to the Streatham Guardian.
The Lambeth branch of the MS Society last week received the much-needed vehicle after raising £11,000 to buy the specially adapted bus. The bus will now be able to carry up to seven people in wheelchairs on social trips, days out and visits to their centre in Clarance Avenue, Clapham.
Lambeth MS Society chairman Ray Norman said: "This bus will make our life a lot easier and provides a lifeline for many of our members. We raised the money through a lot of hard work, and from a lot of donations."
Kind-hearted donors stepped in to help out after reading how the society's previous bus had been vandalised by drug users. The bus was broken into while it was parked in the grounds of St Martin's Church in West Norwood, and was destroyed as vandals ripped off doors, smashed windows and started a fire inside, leaving it abandoned and strewn with drug-taking equipment.
The story featured in the Streatham Guardian two years ago and was read by an anonymous donor who gave the society £2,000 towards the cost of buying a new vehicle.
A smaller bus was acquired for temporary use, but was only capable of carrying a couple of wheelchairs.
Since then donations, fund-raising, including sponsored marathon runners, and the £2,000 donation have meant that the society has finally reached its £11,000 target, and they took possession of their new bus.
Mr Norman added: "We have about 60 members who can make use of this bus.
"We can bring them to the centre, take them on day trips to the seaside
and to Kew Gardens, and it saves us having to make as many repeat journeys.
It really makes the world of difference to us."
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