Inspirational fundraising event in Hebden Bridge raises money and awareness

The This Way Up ride out group
The This Way Up ride out group

Hebden Bridge based The Tonic’s ‘This Way Up’ event brought together a more-than-expected crowd to witness two inspirational people tell their story of how they are living with multiple sclerosis

Andy McKenna, Scottish mountain bike guide, has suffered with MS for 10 years and last year made an award-winning documentary called This Way Up.

Andy and his wife Aneela run GoWhere Scotland and both travelled down to co-host the event with The Tonic, the CBD company in Hebden Bridge, at The Birchcliffe Centre in the town.

The event raised money for two charities that have helped Andy with his battle - The Swank Foundation and Overcoming MS - through ticket sales and a raffle, which raised £750.

The day started with a mountain bike ride where Ben Clayton, local enduro racer, and Daniel Blaydon from Hope Tech led a group of 20 riders around some classic Calder Valley trails.

The ride ended back at the Birchcliffe centre where Out To Lunch laid on an MS friendly menu of curries and Hebden Craft Catering supplied the bar.

Aneela McKenna promotes women in biking and presented her short film Going Places. This was followed by the film The Ridge by Red Bull of mountain biker Danny MacAskill and final short called ‘Moist’ which Andy made with Great Rock’s Ed Oxley.

The final film of the evening was Andy’s most recent and the focus of the evening, This Way Up, a brutally honest story of how he and Aneela are dealing with the disease and his pharma-free approach.

This was followed by an informal Q&A sessions and a chat with the audience.

One audience member, Sue Randle, was so inspired by Andy’s talk, that she joined him on the stage to tell of her battle with MS, Hypothyroidism, EDS and cancer.

Michelle Oxley, from The Tonic, said: “The generosity of local business ensured that raffle prizes were fantastic.

“Myself and Kate (Henderson) want to extend our gratitude to the donators. Prizes included a years subscription to SingleTrack Magazine, an Orange Crush bike frame from Orange Bikes and Blazing Saddles, clothes voucher for Dynamite Clothing, a Roka Rucksack from RubyShoesDay, Kate Ambler donated a nights stay in her Air BnB, Purity Brewing donated ale, the London Bike show gave away 5x tickets, HebTroCo trousers, and Happy Bottom Bum Butter from Charlie the Bikemonger!

“A huge thank you must be given to the volunteers who helped with running the evening, especially Mike Shillabeer sound tech, Northern Powerhouse and William Bell wrapped up the evening with some fantastic music. And Sim Mainey and Paul Murphy for the photography.”

Kate added, “The biggest thank you is for everyone that joined us at this extremely positive and inspirational event, so thank you to all our well-being revolutionaries.”

The Tonic team and Andy McKenna were brought together when Matt Letch, local mountain biker and owner of Out to Lunch, made Kate and Michelle aware of Andy’s connection with CBD to help ease some of the symptoms of MS.

You can still donate and read more about Andy’s story at stokedonms.org.uk.