A NEW charity started in Herefordshire to help victims of multiple sclerosis and their families has now been officially registered.

To mark the occasion Veronica James who set up the new venture from her home in Ross-on-Wye celebrated by doing a wing walk on a bi-plane at Rendcome Airfield.

"I left my nerves on the ground and found the experience exhilarating," she said.

It also raised more than £500 in sponsorship for the new charity known as MS Friends UK.

The main objective of the charity is to link MS people across the country via the web, and to provide a net work of holidays for those unable to afford one because of their condition.

Veronica became involved after her husband Mel, a former pilot, was diagnosed with MS.

She used the internet to gain more knowledge and talked to dozens of people nation-wide affected by the disease.

Through these conversations she realised that many families hit by MS desperately wanted holidays but could not afford them.

Often people with MS were unable to work and husbands or wives were turned into carers resulting in incomes that were very tight.

With others Veronica decided to do something about it. They set up MS Friends UK with its own web site www.msfriendsuk.org packed with information and contacts for people to chat to each other.

The holiday network is progressing - in a pilot run last April, Veronica organised a holiday for a group of 28 at Scarborough and described it as a 'great success'.

Now she has had the offer of a holiday home at Burnham on Sea specially adapted for the disabled and at very little cost.

It is available for the weeks starting October 26 and November 2 and anyone interested should get in touch through the website.

It is via this medium that MS Friends UK is making links across the country.

"So many people from different places have made use of it, not only to talk to each other on a day to day basis so that they do not feel alone, or cut off, but to hold events to raise money for the holiday cause,'' said Veronica.

"I need to encourage people to look at the web site now and sign the guest book, from there I can pick up their e-mail address and write to them offering support,'' she added.