David receives high praise for dedication to caring for wife

David Hickingbotham and his wife Cheryl, who has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis
David Hickingbotham and his wife Cheryl, who has secondary progressive multiple sclerosis

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A FATHER-of-three was ‘honoured and humbled’ to be chosen as one of the best carers in Britain.

David Hickingbotham, 61, from Fareham, was one of three ‘Carer of the Year’ finalists at the MS Society Awards, which were hosted by Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills.

He was recognised for caring for his wife Cheryl, who lives with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).

He is also the main carer for two of their three children who have a rare neurological disease and need full-time care.

Since their early 20s, David and Cheryl have cared and supported their two severely disabled children.

Due to the progression of her condition Cheryl was forced to medically retire from her role of social worker supporting children and families and over the past 11 years has required full-time care.

David attended the awards with his daughter Lisa and his grandchild Jude.

He said: ‘I feel honoured and grateful, and very humble to be named a finalist. Being at the ceremony has been absolutely amazing. I didn’t expect anything like this at all. It’s a truly amazing experience.’

David was nominated by Caroline Birch, facilitator of Male Carer Groups in Hampshire.

She said: ‘For over 30 years David has been a carer for his wife Cheryl.

‘It is a testament to his exceptional personality that he has done it with grace, humour and fortitude, never losing his love for them despite giving up his work, many of his interests and life plans.

‘He is a great mentor and supporter of many who are either setting out on the journey or struggling with the consequences of life affected by MS.’

There are more than 100,000 people living with MS in the UK, and the MS Society is the leading UK charity for people with the condition.

People typically start experiencing symptoms in their 20s or 30s, which include sight loss, pain, fatigue, incontinence and disability.

Visit mssociety.co.uk to find out more.