A 50TH BIRTHDAY challenge looks set to give hope to multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers across Pembrokeshire.

To celebrate turning 50 this year, ex-police officer Angi Harrell will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for the HOPE MS Centre in Neyland.

Angi, who is from Carmarthen, was inspired to take on the charity challenge by her close friend Haulwen Jones, who has been receiving oxygen and physio therapy at the centre for 14 years.

Grandmother-of-two Haulwen moved from Carmarthen to Pembroke Dock in 2003, simply to be closer to the centre, which she visits once a week.

She says regular oxygen therapy, which involves spending an hour in a pressurised ‘diving tank’, gives her more energy, and has helped keep her symptoms at a manageable level.

“After I’ve had therapy, I feel like I can manage to do things like clean the house, instead of having to do little bits. I feel I can tackle more,” she said.

“I think it’s kept me on a level plain, most people that know me say I haven’t deteriorated in ten years.

“I think the therapies keep me going.”

Open four days a week, the centre helps around 30 people a day, including those with Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease (MND), and those who have experienced a stroke.

Angi is hoping to raise £3,000 for the centre, which relies heavily on charitable donations to meets its £100,000 annual running cost.

She said: “I’ve always said that in my fifth decade I would run the London Marathon, well the time has come!

“I’m so lucky to have been given the chance to run at this well-known event to make my dreams come true.”

And Haulwen says she is thrilled her friend’s efforts will be for such an important local cause.

“She could have so easily done it for some other charity, especially as she doesn’t live down here,” said Haulwen.

“I’m just so grateful that she decided to do it for us.”

To donate to Angi’s sponsorship total, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/AngiHarrellisdoingLondon.