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Royal Recognition For Ice Bucket Challenge Instigator

Tuesday March 3 2015

A BARNSLEY Hospital midwife who kickstarted a social media craze which raised £7 million for charity has gained royal recognition.

At the beginning of August, Paula Maguire and her husband Robert caught wind of an awareness and fundraising initiative that was happening in the USA.

People were filming themselves pouring buckets of ice water over themselves and donating money to the ALS Association, an American charity raising funds for motor neurone disease research.

Paula - who is is already a supporter of the MND Association - has raised over £12,000 for them in the past and decided to set up a Just Giving page.

Once Paula and her husband’s videos were uploaded, they quickly went viral and were shared by thousands.

Her modest target of £500 was soon surpassed, with over 770,000 donations being pledged and many still trickling in. 

Earlier this month, the couple were invited to meet the charity’s patron, Princess Anne.

Paula said: "My uncle, Stuart, became ill in April 2009 and was diagnosed with MND in June 2009. He was given just five years to live but his health deteriorated rapidly and he died five months later, aged just 50.

"The MND Association is run on contributions from the public and any money raised will go a long way to help provide support, care and research for those living with or those who have been affected by the disease."

Sally Light, chief executive of the MND Association, added: "While everyone had fun doing the challenge, many understood that there was a very serious message to share - that MND is a cruel disease.

"Because so many people took part, even if some didn't realise why they were doing it but supported it anyway, more people around the world have heard of MND today than ever before and we're able to do more to fight it.

"That's given a new optimism and hope for the future to all those affected by this dreadful disease."

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