Lussmanns Fish & Grill Restaurant Group adopts Muscle Help Foundation as official 2019/20 charity partner

The locals’ favourite sustainable eatery, Lussmanns Fish & Grill Restaurant has recently announced its adoption of the Muscle Help Foundation as the groups official 2019/20 charity partner.

Lussmanns Fish & Grill Founder & Director Andrei Lussmann said:

“I am absolutely delighted to announce our new charity partner Muscle Help Foundation (MHF), founded by Michael McGrath. A local charity rooted in family values, MHF delivers transformational experiences in the UK called Muscle Dreams for children and young people (8-28yrs) with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. MHF gives its beneficiaries and their families hope, inspiration and empowerment.

Throughout the year there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved with our fundraising activities for this worthwhile charity, including our annual ‘Dream Team Dinner’ and MHF’s innovative ‘Meatballs for Muscle Dreams’ campaign – watch this space!’

MHF’s Founder & CEO Michael McGrath said:

“I am thrilled that the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) has been adopted by Lussmanns as their official 2019/20 Charity Partner. It’s no secret I’m a long-standing fan of Lussmanns! With their five restaurants ‘doing Hertfordshire proud’ (The Good Food Guide), the charity is very much looking forward to working closely with Andrei and his team on a number of fundraising events, not least their annual ‘Dream Team Dinner’ which we plan to support in any way we can!

Having a local partnership with a business featured in the Sunday Times Magazine’s Best 100 Restaurants 2018 gives the charity an exciting opportunity to not only attract new ‘Muscle Warrior’ supporters from across the county but also raise much-needed awareness and vital funds so we can move closer to our goal of delivering 657 Muscle Dreams for children and young people with Muscular Dystrophy – that’s one life-changing experience for every muscle in the human body!

MHF is in the process of developing an innovative fundraising campaign called ‘Meatballs for Muscle Dreams’ – now whilst I couldn’t possibly reveal the ingredients that constitute my wife’s amazing meatballs recipe, I’ve no doubt that Andrei’s take on this dish will galvanise customers into consumption (not least of all me!) from Hertford, St Albans and Harpenden to Hitchin and my old home town of Tring… as we say in the charity, that’s the #powerof657!”

About Lussmanns Sustainable Fish & Grill

As published in the Times Newspaper, Lussmanns made it into Marina O’Loughlin and Giles Coren’s list of the 100 best places to eat in the UK.

The locals’ favourite sustainable eatery offers a relaxed dining experience for all the family in their stylish restaurants located in Hertford, St Albans, Harpenden, Hitchin and Tring.

Customers can choose from a range of beautifully balanced seasonal menus, including their extremely popular, value-driven set menu (2 courses £14.95, 3 courses £17.95, available 12-7pm daily) that includes both delicious vegetarian and gluten-free options.

In the words of British food writer, TV presenter and restaurant critic Giles Coren, Lussmanns is “everything a modern local restaurant should be”.

Muscle Warrior’ette Jackie heads to Brighton to flex her running muscles over 26.2 miles

Sunday 14th April sees the Brighton Marathon celebrate its 10th year! And we’re thrilled that among the thousands of marathon participants, we have an extraordinary lady called Jackie Bye who’ll be running in aid of our little charity.

Give it up for Jackie Bye (pictured above) giving a fabulous Muscle Warrior salute but also check out her absolute commitment in matching her chosen race-day nail varnish to our charity colours – now that’s real dedication!

And in terms of her fundraising efforts, over 30 supporters have so far donated on Jackie’s JustGiving fundraising page. The charity is absolutely thrilled that with less than a week to go, she’s hit her £657.00 fundraising target (click below to read more about Jackie’s story and to donate) in support of our Muscle Dream activities – as we say, that’s the #powerof657

If you would like to make a donation, just click Jackie’s JustGiving image above and be sure to leave a little message of support – thank you!

Jackie commented:

“It’s been a few years since I’ve done a full marathon (26.2 miles). Back in 2012 the Muscle Help Foundation hosted some 70 beneficiaries at the London Paralympics. My son Graeme and I were selected; we stayed in a hotel by the 02, we watched two events and we became part of the charity’s Muscle Warrior tribe! All the recipients had different types of muscular dystrophy incl Duchenne, Becker and Charcot Marie Tooth, the condition that Graeme has – 4 months after this Games Inspired Muscle Dream programme, Graeme was due to have surgery on his spine. Along with having CMT, he has scoliosis (curvature of the spine); Graeme received a phone call from the charity’s CEO Michael McGrath wishing him luck in the surgery.

So, to say thank you to Michael and his team, I’d like to raise money towards a Muscle Dream so that another Muscle Warriors, like my Graeme, can have an experience realised, as I know it will be something they won’t forget in a hurry!! That’s why I’m hoping to raise £657.00 in support of their #powerof657 initiative, that’s just £1.00 for every muscle in the human body”

£2500 donation from 2018 Ambition Sales & Marketing Conference presented to charity at Spotlight Theatre

The Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) charity was invited to attend a cheque presentation ceremony held at The Spotlight Theatre (Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire) on 8th January 2019 following on from last years ‘Ambition 2018 Sales & Marketing Conference’.

“On behalf of the charity, thank you so much to everyone who supported this amazing event! What a fantastic cheque to receive – £2500! WOW! As we say, that’s the #powerof657! This donation will help the charity deliver more of its transformational Muscle Dream experiences and ultimately, move us a little closer to our goal of delivering 657, that’s one for every muscle in the human body!”

SOURCE: MHF’s CEO Michael McGrath (pictured with Ambition sponsors & partners).

The special ceremony was attended by the sponsors and organising committee. Ticket sales from the event were donated to two local charities, namely the Muscle Help Foundation and The Tamba Bereavement Support Group – each charity received a donation of £2500 for each charity was presented in the form of a big cheque kindly organised by HB Accountants.

Ambition 2018 included the following businesses: Andy Lopata, Ashbourne Insurance, Cariad Marketing, HB Accountants, and the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Sponsors and Partners included: Ambition Broxbourne (Broxbourne Borough Council), Ashbourne Insurance, Austins Family Funeral Directors, Cariad Marketing, Curwens Solicitors, The Hertfordshire Business Independent, The Mercury Newspaper, IT Builder, Mobile Stationery, RiskEye, Via Properties and SWCO Financial Planning.

Professional speakers included: David Thomas, Julie Creffield, Bryony Thomas, and Alan Stephens with talks moderated by Jeremy Nicholas.

Social media experts included: Cariad Marketing, Rubber Cheese, Mahon Digital.

Professional services donated: Alison Jenkins Photography, Creative Star Graphic Design.

Ambition is a community event, sponsored and organised by local businesses for local businesses, providing an opportunity to network with fellow professionals from Broxbourne and the surrounding areas.

Click HERE to learn more about Ambition

Click HERE for more info about The Tamba Bereavement Support Group

Click HERE to learn more about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign

Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter


MHF proud to support #RAREfest18 by Cambridge Rare Disease Network spotlighting rare conditions

It’s 2018 and rare diseases are still not being consistently diagnosed, treated and supported effectively. Conceived by the Cambridge Rare Disease Network (CRDN), RAREfest18 takes place on 30 Nov & 1 Dec at The Guildhall in Cambridge. The aim is to spotlight some of the successes and innovative solutions that are striving to address this imbalance – the event is free to attend.

It is hoped that the festival will raise awareness of rare conditions and bring together many stakeholders from across the rare disease community alongside the general public from across Cambridgeshire and beyond.

Together with a number of other rare speakers, our CEO Michael McGrath will be speaking at the Guildhall on Fri 30 Nov about his own journey of diagnosis, his polar motivations and the precious commodity of life experiences.

The exhibition on Sat 1 Dec will showcase cutting edge research, science, technologies, products and solutions alongside best examples of medical services, support networks and powerful patient stories. The exhibition aims to demonstrate and celebrate the breadth of excellence in this field, in Cambridge and beyond.

The Muscle Help Foundation is delighted to announce that it will have a presence as an exhibitor and as such, we would like to encourage members of the public, supporters, donors, friends of the charity and organisations with an interest to come along and meet some of our Ambassadors, as well as some of our long-standing volunteers and our CEO to learn more about the charity’s work and impact but also hear some exciting news!

RAREsolutions Poster Competition (with a conscience)

In addition, we’re also thrilled to announce the support of one of our Ambassadors, Vivek Gohil, who has agreed to help the poster competition with a conscience take off!

Designed to educate, engage and empower:

  • It will break down myths about rare disease
  • It will teach you about science
  • You will meet RAREpeople
  • You will see how technology and engineering can make things possible

Check out Vivek’s RAREsolutions challenge film below:

The Muscle Help Foundation charity is proud to be supporting the Cambridge Rare Disease Network and RAREfest18.

For more info, go to:

Twitter: @camraredisease




Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

WOW! Award presented to Sonali Kumarakulsinghe by MHF Charity Trustee Board for invaluable contribution

The Muscle Help Foundation is delighted to nominate Sonali Kumarakulsinghe for a WOW! Award for her outstanding work, professional guidance and consistent advice since the charity was conceived 15 years ago.

The charity’s Trustee Board wish to show their gratitude for the many years of support and as such, have unanimously endorsed this WOW! Award in recognising her invaluable contribution, integrity and commitment. The Award was presented to Sonali (pictured below) by the Trustee Board on Thursday 4th October 2018 at Beales Hotel in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

MHF’s CEO, Michael McGrath commented:

“The charity has a special partnership with The WOW! Awards. It’s a scheme that enables organisations to recognise individuals that provide exceptional value to a consistently high standard, people that go above and beyond! When the Muscle Help Foundation wants to say “thank you” – the WOW! Awards provide a great way for us to do this.

When for example suppliers to our Muscle Dream activities and/or partners deliver outstanding service on behalf of the charity and ‘our’ expectations are blown away, we like to nominate an individual or sometimes a team of people for a WOW! Award.

In Sonali’s case, I cannot think of anyone more deserving! She has and continues to be an invaluable support to the charity. Just saying thank you sometimes feels rather inadequate, so it was felt that a WOW! Award would be wholly appropriate.”

Since March 2015, the charity has made six WOW! Award nominations.

Click HERE to read Sonali’s full nomination and to see who else has received a WOW! Award.

Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

Charity CEO honoured by University of Hertfordshire with an Honorary Doctorate urges graduates to discover their purpose

The Muscle Help Foundation’s CEO Michael McGrath has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire in recognition of his motivational and inspirational work for persons with disability.

Described as one of the most influential disabled people in Britain, Michael McGrath (pictured below, left, with University of Hertfordshire Vice-Chancellor Quintin McKellar, right) was awarded a Doctor of Arts at a ceremony on Monday 3rd September 2018, held at St Albans Abbey, Hertfordshire.

Michael McGrath, the Muscle Help Foundation’s CEO said:

“I am incredibly humbled to receive this honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire. Through the work of my charity and as a speaker, my disability has effectively become a passport for purpose, compassion and hope.

My message to today’s Computer Science graduates and young people across the country is simply this: with today’s world of algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) and the rapid advancement of technology, the discovery of your purpose is vital. Fundamentally, this is about how you contribute in giving that most precious of commodities, your time, to others; this is about embracing the ethic of reciprocity that states ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’ and finally, this is about allowing the virtues of compassion, generosity and kindness to rise up as your personal and professional lives unfold.

It is these virtues as opposed to today or tomorrow’s technologies that lie at the centre of our humanity, what continues to motivate and ultimately what gives our lives meaning.”

Michael, who lives near Hertford, faced head-on the challenge of being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of eighteen and became the first disabled person to lead successful expeditions to both the North and South Poles – the North Pole in April 2002 and the South Pole in January 2004.

Since then, Michael has become the driving force behind the Hertfordshire-based charity which helps children and young people with muscular dystrophy to realise their cherished ambitions – experiences in the UK called ‘Muscle Dreams’ that amongst other benefits improves beneficiary confidence, uplifts self-esteem and gives young people a voice.

The charity is a three-times winner of the ‘Inspiring Hertfordshire’ Award for Best Social Enterprise of the Year.

Fay Sharpe, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the charity commented:

“Many congratulations to Michael McGrath, our Founder and CEO, on behalf of the Board and my fellow Trustees. We are delighted that he has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts (Hon DArt) from the University of Hertfordshire, in recognition of his motivational and inspirational work in the field of disability. He was invested on Monday 3rd September 2018 at St Albans Cathedral by Professor Quintin McKellar CBE, the University’s Vice Chancellor” 


Michael is a recognised motivational business speaker and has been widely acknowledged for his achievements and his work. Among other recognitions he has received, for the last three years he has featured in the Power 100 for Britain’s most influential people with a disability and in 2016 he received the Inspiring Communicator National Award.

This news item was covered by the publications below; click the logos below for more info.



Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180

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Fearless Muscle Warriors raise >£5,000 for charity in 2018 Superhero Tri Challenge

Multi award-winning family charity, the Muscle Help Foundation, is thrilled to announce that three teams of fundraisers successfully completed a Superhero Tri, raising more than £5,000 for the charity’s Muscle Dreams activities.

The Muscle Warriors, including the charity’s very own CEO and founder Michael McGrath, gathered on Dorney Lake on August 18th for the second annual Superhero Tri, where they completed a 400m swim, 10km cycle and 2.5km run.

In what was one of his biggest physical challenges since becoming the first disabled person to reach the North and South Poles, McGrath completed the triathlon with the help of former Team GB rower Toby Garbett and charity volunteers George Harris and Jake Kanter.

McGrath, who himself lives with MD and is a full-time powerchair user, was slowly lifted into a dinghy and stabilised by his son-in-law Jake Kanter who remained with him.  Toby and George swam their hearts out, pulling Michael and Jake the required 400m swim distance. After the transition, Michael was then cycled 10km on a Quest 88 Draisin Bliss platform bike. He completed the final leg of the challenge in his manual wheelchair, crossing the finish line with members of the other two teams competing for the charity on the day.

They included a group called ‘Muscle Dream Team‘ led by MHF Ambassador Leah Booth accompanied by Steve Torricelli, his son Dan and service provider and charity volunteer Dawn-Louise Kerr.  The final group ‘Team Limitless’ comprised Niamh Duffy, Elouise Mullen, Jake Weldon and Sarah Neads from Limitless Travel, whose CEO Angus Drummond has Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD 2A), coincidentally exactly the same genetic type of MD as the charity’s CEO.

The teams raised their voices and their arms in many a Muscle Warrior rallying cry and salute, which has become a visible symbol of hope, courage, strength and unity for all those with Muscular Dystrophy around the UK.  Channel 4 presenter Clare Balding (pictured below left with some of the team members), Paralympic legend Jonnie Peacock (pictured below with MHF Ambassador and team member Leah Booth), British wheelchair basketball player Freya Levy and ‘Last Leg’ presenter Adam Hills met team members, all flexing their sporting muscles in support of the charity.


All three teams smashed their targets of raising £657: a significant number, as 657 is the total number of muscles in the human body and also the charity’s Muscle Dream goal.  As of August this year, 281 Muscle Dreams have been fulfilled, leaving 376 to go before the magical 657 is achieved. The £5000 raised will go towards funding up to four more Muscle Dreams.

The charity’s CEO Michael McGrath said: “This is what happens when you put an Olympian, an ex-army chap, a journalist and a polar adventurer together! It was truly a special day and wonderful to see so many participants and spectators, of all abilities, getting involved and having fun.”

“The Superhero Tri organisers, volunteers and sidekicks should all take a big bow. A special shout-out to event founder Sophia Warner for her inclusive vision which enabled me to believe. So I did… and to think that over £5000 has been raised for the charity. We’re now going to be able to change some more lives and give hope to some incredibly deserving young people on our Muscle Dreams wait-list.”

“Our thoughts have now turned to next year’s Superhero Tri event! The charity is looking to recruit more teams, so if you would like to get involved and can commit to raising £657 for the charity in this fun, fully-inclusive, fundraising initiative, ping an email to: As we say in the charity, that’s the #powerof657,” added McGrath.

Channel 4 will be showing coverage of the Superhero Tri on Saturday 1st September

Click HERE to see photos on MHF’s dedicated Flickr Photo Channel.

Click HERE to see our Muscletastic fundraising pack.

Click HERE to learn about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

Muscle Help Foundation selected as one of two charities supported by Ambition 2018

Multi award-winning family charity, the Muscle Help Foundation is delighted to announce that it has been selected as one of two beneficiary charities for this year's Ambition 2018.

Ambition 2018 is an annual one-day sales and marketing conference held this year on 14 November 2018 at The Spotlight conference venue in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

Some of the UK’s leading experts in sales and marketing will be attending what will be a packed agenda with several high-quality speakers.

MHF’s CEO, Michael McGrath said:

“We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the two charities being supported by Ambition 2018. We look forward to working with the team who are running and sponsoring the event, especially Cariad Marketing a long-term friend and supporter of our charity.

I’m looking forward to engaging hearts and minds by saying a few words at the conference in sharing a little more about our work, impact and our #powerof657 initiative!

One transformational experience costs around £1,500 to deliver, so we’re planning on doing our bit in helping Ambition 2018 be a sell-out event! Ultimately, this will enable the charity to move a little closer to its goal of delivering 657 Muscle Dream experiences, that’s one for every muscle in the human body!

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to flex your financial muscle and buy your Ambition 2018 tickets. I look forward to saying hello to many of the delegates on the big day.

Ambition 2018 is a community event, sponsored and organised by local businesses for local businesses, providing an opportunity to network with fellow professionals from Broxbourne and the surrounding areas. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the two beneficiary charities.

MHF delivers transformational experiences in the UK, known as Muscle Dreams for children and young people (8-29yrs) with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions.

Click HERE to learn more about Ambition 2018.

Click HERE to learn more about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

BCD Meetings & Events adopts Muscle Help Foundation as one of its official charities for 2018

The Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) is thrilled to announce that it has been adopted as one of the official charities being supported in 2018 by BCD Meetings & Events (BCD M&E), Europe’s leading meetings and events agency.

MHF delivers transformational experiences in the UK, known as Muscle Dreams for children and young people (8-28yrs) with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions.

Driven by Fay Sharpe’s enthusiasm and support, the charity has been close to the heart of employees throughout the business and many of the staff have been volunteering on MHF’s annual signature Porsche Driving Experience and Flying Muscle Dream Programmes as well as the occasional VIP experience with some of MHF’s past Charity Partners that have included Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team – these employees have not only directly witnessed the charity’s impact but also the experience has enriched and broadened their horizons, with many returning to support MHF on a voluntary basis, year after year.

Pictured above: Fay Sharpe (centre) with Muscle Dream beneficiaries & family members, plus representatives from the charity, specially invited guests and members of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team who hosted a VIP experience at their Brackley factory

Whilst the events sector is constantly changing and evolving, the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of children and young people with MD has not gone unnoticed:

Fay Sharpe (pictured below), Vice President of BCD Meetings & Events commented:

“In our business, we relentlessly strive to create human experiences that are memorable; at the heart of The Muscle Help Foundation, I’ve seen and witnessed how this small family charity also strives in the pursuit of creating memorable experiences that are both unique and life-changing – there’s a natural alignment between our respective organisations. I’m proud in the knowledge that we can make a real difference where it matters, and I look forward to continuing to support their work.”

As part of its support in 2018, Team BCD M&E will be participating in this year’s Superhero Tri Challenge on 18th August at Dorney Lake, Windsor. MHF is actively recruiting to fill 8 FREE Team places (4 people per team, one of whom must have a disability) for this inclusive, all-day fun event – 5 team places have already been taken!

In return for their FREE entry, Team BCD M&E have committed to raise the minimum amount of £657.00 in sponsorship in support of the charity’s #powerof657 initiative. Despite extremely limited resources, MHF’s overarching goal is to deliver 657 Muscle Dream experiences, one for every muscle in the human body; to date 267 have been delivered, leaving a further 390 to go – if you can help the charity in any way, please get in touch.

MHF’s Founder & CEO Michael McGrath said:

“We are delighted to be formally recognised as one of the charities officially adopted by BCD M&E during 2018. We look forward to working closely with the team on a number of fundraising events throughout the year and of course, I’m especially delighted that Team BCD M&E will be taking part in August’s Superhero Tri Challenge because they’ll be up against Team McGrath – I say, bring it on as there’s nothing quite like a little competitive spirit!”

Businesses interested in joining Team BCD M&E and supporting MHF can register their interest and find out more info by pinging an email to:

Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

Muscle Ambassador Leah Booth Shares Her Story Including Insights About Her Life

Experiences come in all shapes and sizes, some are positive, some are negative, some are small and seemingly insignificant and some have the ability to shape you, change you and alter your future. I have gone through them all.

When I was younger, up until the age of 14, my experiences were pretty standard for someone my age. It was all about making friends, learning your times tables and trying to navigate the minefield that is ‘High School’ but as I got older, and my disability became more of a factor, my experiences began to change. At age 14 I discovered I needed surgery to correct Scoliosis, curvature of the spine. I was suddenly facing something I was completely unprepared for: it was a blur of test, appointments and medication leading up to an 11-hour surgery. I had to grow up practically overnight.

From that moment on I was an adult, which in some ways was fantastic because I felt so mature and in control of my life but at the same time I found it difficult to interact with people my own age. During this time, whilst on bed rest, I watched a lot of crime programmes on television and read dozens of books: which eventually led me to university and getting my degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

At the time, I didn’t realise that an experience as insignificant as watching Law & Order had set my life on a path I never thought it would take. And for a time, I was very happy working within the Criminal Justice System, volunteering with Hate Crime charities and my local police force, until new experiences carved out a different path for me.

After a breakdown in my care package meant I had to leave my work, I became angry and confused, and I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. That was until my Muscle Help Foundation ‘Earn Your Wings’ flying experience catapulted my life into a new direction and gave me a new vision of a brighter future. Simply taking part in the experience, learning new skills, developing my confidence, allowed me to realise all my experiences in life meant I had a story to tell and a dream worth exploring.

I wanted to find a way to express myself and be able to share with others what life was like with a complex need – so I created my blog “Should have been a mermaid” and from there I was asked to go to events and do talks. I became a public speaker, sharing my experiences across the UK. And now I’m honoured to be a Muscle Warrior Ambassador for the very charity that helped shape my future.

Suddenly I realised my experiences: big, small, positive and negative had led me to this point in my life. Do I wish some of the experiences had been different? Yes. Do I wish I could do some of them over again? Absolutely. But that’s not how life works – without these experiences I wouldn’t be where I am today – happy.


Click HERE to learn more about our Ambassadors.

Click HERE to see our Muscletastic fundraising pack.

Click HERE to learn about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Leah Booth
Muscle Ambassador

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