Sprowston woman spends 80th birthday raising money for motor neurone disease

Diana Buckingham has raised £1,000 for motor neurone disease. Pictured: Diana and Geoffrey Buckingha

Diana Buckingham has raised £1,000 for motor neurone disease. Pictured: Diana and Geoffrey Buckingham on their wedding day. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

Celebrating her 80th birthday surrounded by loved ones, Diana Buckingham used the landmark moment to raise money in memory of her late husband.

Diana Buckingham has raised £1,000 for motor neurone disease. Pictured: Diana and Geoffrey Buckingha

Diana Buckingham has raised £1,000 for motor neurone disease. Pictured: Diana and Geoffrey Buckingham, Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

Geoff Buckingham was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in August 2011 and passed away just 16 months later. Hoping to raise awareness and help other families being affected by the degenerative condition, the Sprowston woman selflessly asked for donations instead of presents on her big day.

Guests attending her birthday party at Sprowston Sports Club, raised £1,000 for the motor neurone disease association.

Mrs Buckingham, said: 'I just felt it was a way of helping other people and when you get to 80 there isn't anything that you really need.'

The couple's love story began when they were just sixteen. A friend set them up on a blind date at what used to be the Haymarket Cinema, in Norwich, and they were together ever since.

Married in 1957 and living in Norfolk all of their lives, the couple went on to have two sons and four grandchildren.

Described as a family man that was always happy and smiling, Geoff had a love of golf and motorbikes - even managing to complete the 37 mile circuit of the Manx Grandprix on his velocette.

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Spending most of his life working White House Farm since 1964 and launching the 'pick your own fruit and vegetables' initiative, he was a key member of the community for decades.

'He loved being with people. About 24 years ago Geoff built our granddaughters a stable and on Christmas day he arrived with a real pony for them, they were so happy. He enjoyed spending so much time with his family.'

In the final few days of his life, he was cared for at the Priscilla Bacon Lodge. Mrs Buckingham added: 'They were brilliant and I can't fault them, they know what people need and want at such a difficult time.'

Now, his family hope his memory will live on through the donations that will help people across Norfolk with the condition.

- If you have a story about someone raising money, email jemma.walker@archant.co.uk