By Richard Poole
On Friday 29 November, the 2013 Suite at Valley Parade will be hosting a whisky tasting event to raise funds for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.
The Foundation, set up by City legend Stephen Darby and former British Forces veteran and fellow MND sufferer Chris Rimmer – with whom Stephen has struck up a strong friendship – is due for official launch on 24 October.
I’ve only met Stephen once and that was very recently, at the University of Bolton Stadium after I completed one of the #Steps4Stephen legs.
Stephen comes across as a quiet, unassuming kind of guy. Talking to him in the stadium, you wouldn’t know he had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Whilst he may not say a lot, what you can expect from him is that he’ll fight the disease with the steely determination that endeared him into the hearts and minds of the City faithful.
Motor neurone disease is a horrible, debilitating, life-shortening illness that currently effects around 5000 sufferers in the UK. It’s a disease that over time, effects how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. Generally, it effects more men than women and is more prevalent in the over 50s.
Stephen was 29 when diagnosed.
It effects people in different ways and the rate of progression of the illness varies also. Fernando Ricksen, the former Rangers player, lived with the illness for six years, before passing away in 2019. Some people only live a couple of years after their diagnosis.
Stephen is very aware that he has lots of support from family, friends, footballing peers and the wider football community. He knows that he’s very lucky to have this support but wanted to do more to help those in a less fortunate position.
His agent, Matt Buck picks up the story, “He couldn’t come to terms with how an average person not in the public domain would deal with the same situation, and what he wanted to do is create something that gives younger people who get MND that support, whether it’s education, financial assistance or just supporting people by speaking to them. This wasn’t months after, it was days and weeks after, that was Stephen’s philosophy.”
In a recent email I received, Stephen wrote “… the support has been incredible and overwhelming and it’s with the support from those like yourself that will help us make a positive impact on MND.”
He, Chris and the other trustees of the Foundation really do appreciate the runners, the sky divers, the walkers, the swimmers, the whisky tasters and everyone that attends and backs these events.
By supporting the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation you’re going to be making a difference and helping them with their aim to create awareness of MND, to fund and assist research into the illness with the quest of finding a cure for the illness, to raise funds and offer grants to those with MND, as well as creating a network to help provide information and emotional support network for those diagnosed with the disease.
So – that all said – back to whisky tasting. On the night, we’ll be providing five Scotch whiskies which are generally only available through specialist outlets. The combined retail price of the whisky is around the £500.00 mark.
Hosted by Disney-lover and whisky connoisseur Ben Bowers, you can be assured of a fun and entertaining evening, with Ben explaining the history behind each whisky in an informative manner.
Supper will be provided – as the event is being held on St Andrews weekend, this will be haggis, neeps and tatties. An auction of whisky and sporting memorabilia will take place and there will be a raffle for the full bottles of the whisky tasted on the night.
Tickets are priced at £55.00 including the booking fee and it’s a simple case of the more tickets sold, the more funds go to the Foundation. All money raised by the auction and raffle will go straight to the Foundation too.
Tickets are available from https://whiskyfordarbs.eventbrite.com and you can find which whisky we’re tasting by following #whiskyfordarbs on Twitter and Facebook.
Remember, together we can #attackmnd
*Matt Buck’s quote taken from the tribuna / Reds Live website.