Braunton MS suffer wants votes to help ‘amazing’ centre

Joseph Bulmer

Exeter based MS charity used by many from North Devon is up for National Lottery Award

A Braunton Multiple Sclerosis sufferer is calling on people in North Devon to vote for the South West MS Centre as it bids for a National Lottery award.

Christine Westlake has been going to the Exeter based centre, which treats a number of MS suffers from North Devon, for nine years and says it has made a huge difference to her life as she battles the debilitating condition.

The self funding charity is one of 10 projects to make it through in the Best Health Project category in The National Lottery Awards, the annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. The winning project in each categories will attend a star-studded awards event later this year, broadcast on BBC One, as well as a �2,000 prize.

Semi-finalists have been shortlisted for the big difference they have made with Lottery money and people across Devon are being urged to cast a vote between now and June 20 to help them make it through to the final.

Chris, aged 54, travels to the centre regularly with husband Stan to “dive” in a decompression chamber which she says has diminished her symptoms of chronic fatigue and alleviated the pain.

“When I first went there., I was so fatigued and had no energy but now I rarely fall asleep during the day and it makes a massive difference,” she said.

“It keeps me more active and has reduced the pain quite significantly, particularly in my legs. The centre is an amazing place to go and the people there are fantastic, both the volunteers and paid staff.”

Decompression involves breathing oxygen under pressure and the centre also offers a range of therapies including physiotherapy, reflexology and tai chi, as well as a specially equipped gym.

“We had outgrown our building and Lottery funding enabled us to move,” said centre manager Caroline Smith.

“This has made a remarkable difference to the level of service and variety of treatments we can offer.”

To vote for The South West MS Centre call 0844 836 9707 or log on to