A care home organised their own version of the Great British Bake Off in aid of charity.
Staff and residents at the Highfield House care home, part of the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham, had afternoon tea with cakes and raised a cake tin full of cash for the local branch of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society.
Highfield House well-being and activities co-ordinator Susie Owen explained branch members attended monthly coffee mornings there
She said: “We have two residents of the care home who suffer from MS and two of their friends, who are also residents, have joined the Wrexham branch of the MS Society so they can learn more about MS.
“We hold the afternoon tea and cake sale event every year as a way of raising funds for the charity as well as raising awareness of the condition.
“The monthly meetings started off as a way for residents who suffer with MS to talk through their problems but it has developed into a general get-together and a way to meet socially.
“We welcome members of the Wrexham branch of the MS Society into Highfield House. It’s a chance for them to share their experiences and support residents who have the condition.”
The MS Society is campaigning to improve treatment and care to help people who have MS, for which there is no known cure, to take control of their lives.
MS is a complex condition and has numerous symptoms which can be different in each sufferer.
Highfield House resident, Sue Mullally, 68, a member of the Wrexham branch of the MS Society, has suffered from MS since she was in her late teens.
She said: “I was diagnosed when I was living in London. I worked as a secretary and personnel manager. It’s a progressive disease but I have to say it’s been quite kind to me in a way.
“I have suffered from MS most of my life but I have only been confined to a wheelchair for the last six years or so. I enjoy other members of the Wrexham branch of the MS Society coming in and sharing tea and cakes.
“It’s an opportunity to meet up and talk with other people who have the condition and share a few experiences. The afternoon tea and cake sale are enjoyable events and to be fair, Pendine Park takes MS and other medical conditions very seriously.
“Staff have a lot of different skills and that’s important as no two people suffering MS have the same symptoms. It’s also good they support the event by providing tea, coffee and plenty of cakes.”
She added: “It’s important to keep active and don’t let the condition beat you. I do a lot of art work which Pendine Park gives me the opportunity to do. There are also lots of other activities I can try if I so wish.
“But it’s also so important I can meet with other MS sufferers, it’s one reason why I always support these events.”
Former estate agent Seema Day, 50, works as a support officer for the Wrexham branch of the MS Society.
She said: “I was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago now and have to use a wheelchair all the time. I man the phone line at home and give people advice and point them in the right direction.
“New sufferers are diagnosed and are often in denial or are simply afraid and don’t know what to do or who to turn to for advice. We can’t perhaps alleviate all the problems but what we can do is reassure someone and let them know they are not alone.
“There is always help out there if you know where to look. I’m so grateful we now meet here at Highfield House every month. Susie Owen and I put the monthly meeting together as well as this annual fundraising event.”
Seema, who has two sons, aged 22 and 24, added: “It’s a great way for me to meet with residents who have MS as well as their friends. It gives me a chance to get to know them and talk through any problems they might have.
“We have 65 members in Wrexham although there are others we help and talk to who have the condition but don’t wish to, for whatever reason, register with us.
“I’m so grateful to Pendine Park for supplying all the tea, coffee and delicious cakes. It’s a wonderful gesture and very much appreciated.”
Helen Whittaker, 48, is the secretary of the Wrexham branch of the MS Society and attended the afternoon tea and cake sale fundraising event at Highfield House.
She said: “We try and provide a service for people in Wrexham that have MS. I was diagnosed in 2001 but I fight it every day and refuse to let it beat me. I’m still able to walk, albeit with a walking stick.
“Everyone is different; with me it was my vision going blurred that was the first sign then numbness in my legs. Seema was different as she had the spreading numbness followed by the vision problems. The other way around to me.
“The condition presents itself in very different ways and no two sufferers will have identical symptoms. It’s all about slow and gradual change. The main thing is to have someone to talk to.”
Helen, who also has two children, a son aged 20 and a daughter aged 18, added: “We are so grateful to Pendine Park care Organisation for allowing us to hold this afternoon tea and cake sale. As well as supporting our monthly get-togethers.
“It’s a chance to meet other MS sufferers, talk through our problems and share experiences. The £100 or so raised from the afternoon tea and cake sale will be put to very good use.”