Jackie Wray departed Swindon Therapy Centre of MS on 17 June after eleven years as manager, although she and husband Dave have been volunteers for over twenty years.
Before her departure, she wrote:
I first got involved with the MS Centre when Dave’s job with Nationwide moved us to Swindon in 1993, when our twins were a year old.
I’d been diagnosed with MS in 1988 and used the oxygen therapy where we lived previously, so I continued when we moved here, going weekly to the the MS therapy centre when it was located in Cheney Manor.
We both quickly became volunteers, helping with all sorts of fundraising, which we’ve carried on over the 22 years we’ve lived here. When I became Manager in June 2004, after Barry Bowers sadly died, the centre had only had 37 users and 8 volunteers, who mainly ran the oxygen chamber, and one staff member, me as manager, with a self-employed physiotherapist comg in one day a week. members using our services.
Now the centre has 4 members of staff, 9 self-employed therapists and over 70 regular volunteers, who work in all areas of the organisation. We have 500 members and carry out 7,000 therapies each year.
It’s been an amazing experience to see the centre grow, particularly with the move to Bradbury House at Westmead in January 2010, and further develop with funding from Big Lottery and many local companies and organisations supporting the centre throughout the community.
It’s been a challenge at times, but with the commitment and support of our Trustees, chaired by Dave until November 2014, without whose support it wouldn’t have been possible, it has been a real privilege to work with everyone involved, particularly our volunteers, without whom the charity wouldn’t be where it is today.
It was an incredible moment, and the finest in my career, when the MS Centre was given the Queens’ Award for Voluntary Service in 2012, a well deserved accolade and recognition to everyone who volunteers and supports the Swindon Therapy Centre.
I’ve come into contact with some very special people throughout my time and will treasure many happy memories. It’s been an amazing honour to have been Manager at the Centre for the past 11 years – I would like to say a huge thank you to the whole team who have supported me and who make the Centre such a special place: all our wonderful volunteers, members, staff, therapists and of course our Trustees.
As Dave and I both retired in June we went off to do the Coast to Coast walk and will continue volunteering at the MS Centre wherever we are needed, if they’re happy to have us.