A MULTIPLE Sclerosis sufferer has embarked on a walk-a-mile challenge in aid of Barry-based charity, Woody’s Lodge.

Retired police officer, Nigel Hughes is supporting Woody’s Lodge which has joined forces with Newport-based St David's Hospice and Sully-based Ty Hafan children’s hospice in fundraising challenge - 100 Miles (1609m) in May.

The 62-year-old dad-of-one and former traffic motorcyclist and instructor wanted to get support the charity that he uses.

Woody’s Lodge, in Amelia Trust Farm, Five Mile Lane, is a social hub which guides veterans to the help and support they need to re-engage with their families and communities.

It is an inviting meeting space for those who have served within the armed forces and emergency services.

It is named after Royal Marine and member of the elite special boat service, Paul “Woody” Woodland, of Penarth, who died in a training exercise.

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Mr Hughes was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in Llandough Hospital, and then the University Hospital of Wales, in 2012.

He had pins and needles in his left hand in 2002, but thought it was a trapped nerve or repetitive strain from being on police bikes.

In 2009, he was unable to walk easily on pebbles or sand and in 2010 he started scuffing his left leg.

His balance wasn’t good, he looked drunk, he developed slurred speech and he experience eyesight changes in 2011.

He was tested for a stroke and taken to A&E when he couldn’t use his left arm.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015 and after radiotherapy had the all clear.

He has had diabetes type 2 and kidney stones since then

Mrs Hughes said: “Initially we were both numb about the diagnosis, maybe in denial.

“It was like a ticking time bomb.

“No-one could tell us how the MS would progress or when?

“Nigel continued working.

“But he couldn’t do things around the house mainly due to fatigue.

“He just collapsed after working. “

In 2015 his health deteriorated, when his mother died.

Cancer took its toll and his MS progressed more rapidly.

He was using a stick, but soon had to start using a wheelchair and retired aged 58.

His MS was then diagnosed as secondary progressive MS.

“By the end of 2016 we both felt trapped,” Mrs Hughes said. “Nigel couldn’t go out without me as he needed support with doing everything.

“We were told about Woody’s Lodge.

“If it wasn’t for Woody’s, Nigel might never have gone out again

“He wanted to still have some respect and understanding for the job he had once done and be treated like that man, not the disabled man most people now see.

“Nigel’s condition continues to slowly deteriorate.

“Sometimes just taking one step is too much for him so trying to walk just six metres which is the length of our garden takes a huge effort.

“He uses his wheelchair to get around to save his energy for when he wants to walk a little bit.

“Fatigue is probably the most common symptom of MS and can completely debilitate Nigel.

“He started on May 1 and each day we record him doing his walk on video.

“We estimate it will take him two or three months to complete his mile.

“We hope we can raise awareness for Woody’s Lodge and what they are hoping to continue to achieve.”

To support, see Instagram – helpinghand1333; and Twitter – helpinghand1333; or visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KarenHughes43