CALDERDALE Council has signed up to the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Charter after councillors heard a moving personal story from one of its members.

Councillor Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) told councillors at the latest full council meeting how his active stepson had been struck by the condition and urged colleagues to approve the council signing up to the charter, which covers five key issues faces by sufferers and their families.

Cllr Baines said: “Up to two years ago my knowledge of MND was that Stephen Hawking was a sufferer – then my stepson, Craig, an armed police officer at the Houses of Parliament, a very fit and active man who cycled the 30 miles to work most days, found that he was having difficulties pulling the lever on his gun to engage the first cartridge from the magazine.

“He sought medical advice and was diagnosed with MND and given an estimated life of approximately three to five years.”

His step-son and his wife moved back to Halifax and up until about nine months ago you would not really notice any disability, said Cllr Baines.

“But now his power to move has deteriorated greatly, he can only walk a few yards, needs assistance to do most activities, his personal hygiene and has difficulty speaking.

“Craig has always had a great sense of humour and keeps his spirits up, and does not complain to any visitors when they come,” he said.

His humour even applied to his condition when he first discussed it with Cllr Baines, he said.

Health service and council staff had been excellent and wanted to single out Timothy Cook who was an outstanding officer.

And, he said: “I would like to ensure that future sufferers will receive the same help and support while suffering from this terrible disease.”

The charter gives sufferers the right to an early diagnosis and information, the right to access quality care and treatments, the right to be treated as individuals with dignity and respect, the right to maximise their quality of life and that carers of people with MND have the right to be valued, respected, listened to and well supported.

Councillors agreed unanimously to adopt the charter and to ensure where possible that support was given to all sufferers in the community.

Coun Bob Metcalfe (Lab, Town) added that he hoped the council would inform key NHS partners it had signed up to the charter so they could do the same, and it could also cover other areas of health.

Former Bradford City captain and Liverpool youth player Stephen Darby was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in September 2018 at the age of 29.

Fans flocked to Valley Parade on Sunday afternoon for an emotional friendly against European Champions Liverpool.

The game, which Liverpool won 3-1, was organised to help raise money for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, which the former City full-back has set up alongside close friend, and fellow Motor Neurone Disease sufferer, Chris Rimmer.