Reproduced in full – the speech made by MS Support Manager Karen Middlemiss at the opening of the new Centre on Monday 5th January 2015. If you missed it be prepared to be moved. If you were there you will no doubt enjoy it once again!
“Life is a journey and to a degree we choose which paths we take.
“Most of the people here today, you our members, are on a path that you didn’t choose and no doubt given the choice would not choose it. BUT, this is your journey.
“In our tiny, cold, wet building across the way with its buckets, wobbly toilets, doors that wouldn’t close (or even open at times) and plaster falling from the ceiling your journey was definitely by economy class – BUT you’ve been upgraded! Forget Business Class – you’ve been upgraded to Platinum Class.
“Over the past 12 years, a lot of people have been extremely generous, hardworking and given 100% effort to the new building appeal, and over the past 4 years it’s very much due to the compassion and generosity of our lovely Patron, Frank Brake, the hard work, skills and determination of our Volunteer Funding Development manager Steph Senior, and the passion, forward thinking, hard work and motivation of your fellow member Mary Daly that has played a huge part in getting this amazing upgrade. Our Chairman Tony Meire, has been outstanding, he’s given 9 years of his life to the centre and done an amazing amount of work in the background-Tony, you’ve been a great ambassador – thank you.
“The word ‘inspirational’ is a word we hear often these days, so often that it tends to dilute its meaning, BUT it’s a word I would use to describe each and every member who attends this centre.
“This wonderful upgrade is not only for you but it’s BECAUSE of you – it’s your spirit, determination, true grit and the effort you put into just getting out of bed every day and getting on with your life as it is, that has given those around you the energy and passion to want to get behind you and support you – you should all be very very proud of yourselves.
“You’ve got an excellent pilot on this second phase of your journey, Jason Steelman who sincerely has your best interests at heart, Jason will ensure the engine is always well oiled and the vehicle is always safe; our lovely fund raiser Helen will make sure there’s always plenty of fuel on board to keep our engine running, Lucy, Nicola and Heather on our check in desk will make sure everyone has a seat (it may not always be a window seat) but there’s enough room for everyone. Our therapists are here to make your journey as pleasant and as comfortable as possible and our wonderful volunteers are here to help drive the engine – We’ve even got an on board pool!
“You can bring as much baggage with you as you want to your allowance is unlimited, I’ll be here to help you sort through it and hopefully in time – you really can travel light.
“We can’t promise there won’t be turbulence from time to time – some of you will feel it at different times throughout your journey and some of you will feel it more than others – but don’t be afraid, we understand those fears, all your friends are on board together and we can hold each other’s hands.
“Easy Jet – eat your heart out!”