The Merlin MS Centre, formally the Merlin Project, was founded in 2001, by Derek Murphy, a retired Medical Doctor, and his wife Eileen. Derek is a former head of the Neurosciences Section of the Administrative Headquarters of the British Medical Research Council in London.
Some of the Merlin Team in front of our tent at the Royal Cornwall Show in June 2003, with just one of the many generous donations received.
Eileen and Derek's daughter-in-law was living with MS. When they moved to Cornwall they knew that she attended the Ipswich MS Therapy Centre, where treatments included High Pressure Oxygen Therapy, this therapy is believed to help relieve certain MS symptoms. They asked the whereabouts of the Cornish MS Therapy Centre, which their daughter-in-law would need when the family came on holiday. They were astonished to find that there was no such centre in the county. The nearest; Exeter, in Devon which is some two hours drive away from the mid Cornwall area.
This led the Murphys to research the possibility of establishing a centre for Cornwall. They discussed the idea with three other people whose lives were affected by MS and they were later joined by two more. This group of entirely ordinary people decided to call a public meeting which was so well attended that there seemed no alternative to going ahead.
And the name? From the beginning the group recognised that some magic might be needed to help things along. One name above all is linked to magic in Cornwall, and so The Merlin Project was born.
However, magic alone would not bring funds and Merlin could not have got off the ground without them. Sue Key-Stone, who is one of the founder members, dealt with this problem in a spectacular way when she 'jump' started the fundraising with her incredibly brave sponsored parachute jump!