Former RAF engineer with multiple sclerosis raises £10,000 for charity by walking 85 miles
PUBLISHED: 21:57 19 July 2020 | UPDATED: 21:57 19 July 2020
A former RAF radar engineer who has multiple sclerosis has raised £10,000 for a therapy centre by walking 85 miles.
Richard Leigh, 68, from Dovedales Court, in Sprowston, took on the challenge of walking a mile a day along North Walsham Road, near his home, in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Therapy Centre on Hurricane Way, Norwich.
He was inspired by Capt Sir Tom Moore - the 100-year-old who raised more than £32m for NHS charities by walking more than 100 laps of his garden.
Like Capt Sir Tom, Mr Leigh used a walking frame as his left side is affected by multiple sclerosis, which has given him a limp, and his original target was £4,000.
“I thought I would be lucky if I got that so I doubled it and just kept walking. Capt Sir Tom gave me the idea. If he could do it I could do it,” said Mr Leigh.
He started the daily challenge, which he always did around 8.15am, on April 24 when it took him an hour. His final walk took him 35 minutes.
Mr Leigh said: “It was tough at first. The support has been magic. There has been a lot of support on Facebook. People would stop in their gardens and cars would beep their horns.”
MORE: Man with multiple sclerosis walks mile day after Captain Tom Moore inspiration
The 68-year-old grandfather first felt the first signs of MS in 1979 aged 28 while he was in the RAF after feeling pains in his chest.
He was diagnosed with the lifelong condition, which affects the brain and nerves, in 1997 and has primary MS meaning there is no cure.
The condition meant he developed bad posture and back pain, through his weakened left side, but he has since taken up Pilates, yoga and keep fit classes which has improved his overall health and wellbeing.
He does not take any medication for his MS.
Mr Leigh said: “I have always had a positive attitude which makes a big difference.”
The 68-year-old became a volunteer for the MS Therapy Centre, which offers holistic therapies as well as social support, in 2012 after he first visited for physiotherapy.
He became a trustee, a position he no longer holds, and helps people with MS and other neurological conditions including motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s fill out paperwork for financial support.
The centre, which started in 2009, was closed during lockdown but will reopen on August 17.
Visit www.mstcn.org.uk for more information on the centre.
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