COMMUNITY heroes will set off on their 17th annual charity seaside walk in Southend this weekend – and you can sign up to join them now.

The Walk to D’Feet MND event takes place on Sunday, May 14, and the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s South Essex Branch want to boost to the incredible £228,113 fundraising total achieved since the first one in 2005.

Families and friends will pull on their comfiest trainers, sun glasses and blue-coloured MNDA-branded T-shirts for the relaxed-paced and picturesque ten-mile round trip.

The seafront route towards Shoeburyness starts at 10am behind Leigh-on-Sea Rail Station on Belton Way and walkers will reach the Halfway House Toby Carvery in Eastern Esplanade before turning and retracing their steps back to the finish line at the train station.

And if you are not taking part then fear not as they will be easy to spot – they will be the chatty ones with big smiles, ice creams and charity collection buckets!

The event continues to grow in popularity with nearly 3,200 registering to take part over nearly two decades of a fundraiser which was only halted once by the pandemic.

MNDA South Essex Branch board member Michelle Shabi Bingham with her late father Terry at her wedding in 2013

MNDA South Essex Branch board member Michelle Shabi Bingham is about to embark on her eighth walk in support of a charity which is particularly close to her heart.

Michelle’s father Terry Shabi had only just turned 62 when he passed away in March 2014 after being diagnosed with the disease just four months earlier.

Terry’s widow Linda and other daughter Linda have also supported the charity which raises awareness, works with healthcare professionals, and holds support meetings for anyone touched by the disease.

Michelle, who is also a well-known member of the Essex community as the wife of world No 15 snooker professional Stuart Bingham, said: “We’d love to see as many people joining us for the walk as possible.

“It helps a terrific cause but it is also a great way to bring our community together and we have always had a real laugh. There are chips, donuts and ice cream along the way too – so the kids are usually happy!

“The MNDA was a great support for us when we really needed them. They were only ever a phone call away if we wanted to talk or needed help with anything at all.

“They are also happy to visit and provide financial support too. I don’t know how we would have coped without them so we are always happy to support them in any way we can.”

All proceeds will be donated to the MNDA and you can make a JustGiving donation by clicking here.

You can register to take part by clicking this link to email Michelle. And you can contact her through the MNDA South Essex Branch’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.