A THERAPY centre which helps hundreds of people unable to get assistance anywhere else raised vital funds at its Christmas fair.

The MS Therapy Centre in August End, west Reading, has been going for 11 years, funded entirely by donations, offering help to anyone with multiple sclerosis and associated conditions.

The charity's chief patron, Reading West MP Martin Salter, has been with it almost the whole time and opened the fair on Saturday afternoon.

He said: "It was a massive battle to get the centre open, but now it's a fantastic resource for people and events like this really help."

Children visited Father Christmas in his grotto while boys from the 89th Scouts sold books, games and puzzles.

Trish Wright from the charity's fundraising Link Group helped organise the fair and said: "There's a great turnout. It's fantastic because everyone is a volunteer."

The amount raised was still being totted up, but organisers hoped it would top the £1,500 mark.

Trustee Jim Dunn, from Arborfield, who was diagnosed with MS 10 years ago, said: "Most of the treatments people just can't get on the NHS, so for those who can't afford to go private, it's a real lifeline. It can take discipline to keep up some of the treatments so doing them collectively really helps."

In the past year the centre has helped more than 600 people, offering 3,136 high-density oxygen therapy sessions, 4,529 physiotherapy sessions, 300 counselling appointments, 250 for acupuncture and 200 for reflexology.