Tree planted to mark group’s 25th birthday

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The 25th anniversary of the Derbyshire branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association was commemorated with the planting of an English oak in Shipley Country Park.

Elaine Joel, former branch secretary and founder member, joined present members of the local group in the Horsepool Hill Commemorative Woodland.

Brenda Bowman, speaking on behalf of the group, said: “This English oak is planted as part of a scheme to increase native woodland throughout the country and especially in the East Midlands.

“It also commemorates the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Derbyshire branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association and is the symbol of our confident hope that in the early years of this tree’s lifespan a cure will be found for this devastating disease.”

The Derbyshire branch was formed after the death of Elaine’s uncle, Ripley man Ken Rawson, a former Notts County footballer, who contracted the illness.

A sponsored walk was held in Shipley park shortly after Ken’s death, which raised £2,000. After further successful fundraising events the Derby & Amber Valley Support Group was formed, later to become the Derbyshire branch of the MND Association.

Over the years the group has raised approximately £400,000 to help people affected by MND living in Derbyshire.