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Family of Stafford RAF man who died after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease take on the ice bucket challenge

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 28, 2014

  • Linda and Sonya Bedford from Stafford, who are fund-raising in memory of former RAF man David Bedford, who died of motor neurone disease

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THE family of an "inspirational" Stafford man diagnosed with motor neurone disease say they have been overwhelmed by the success of the ice bucket challenge - and are doing their own to raise awareness.

Former RAF serviceman David Bedford died on August 16 at the age of 60 after being diagnosed in May last year.

Mr Bedford, a Gulf War veteran from Douglas Road West, had been unwell for some time before and began suffering fits, prompting a diagnosis for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But his speech eventually became slurred and after more tests Mr Bedford was diagnosed with incurable motor neurone disease, which damages the nervous system causing progressive weakness and muscle wasting.

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His shocked family knew hardly anything about the condition. Now they are determined to raise awareness, as well as pulling in pounds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Mr Bedford's daughter Sonya, 35, said: "The diagnosis was completely unexpected. We didn't know what motor neurone disease was. I didn't realise that Stephen Hawkins had MND. We had to do a lot of research. We were all devastated. It is a horrendous disease and there is no cure.

"The condition affected his speech at first and then he could not chew food so had to have it through a tube. He was so strong and was still walking around until he became really poorly.

"We have now set up a memorial fund at david.bedford.muchloved.com and a lot of family members have already completed the ice bucket challenge, including some in Australia. I am planning to do it this week."

At the funeral on August 22 donations totalled £850, which will be divided between Katharine House Hospice and MND.

Sonya said her father, known as Flash to many, joined the RAF when he was 17 and served in various places, including the Gulf War and Northern Ireland. His last posting was at Stafford and he settled there with wife Linda, 58, children Sonya and Alex, 31, and grandchildren Faith, two, and Edison, 11 months.

She said: "My dad was an inspiration. He was always a joker. He would have loved the ice bucket challenge."

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