A VILLAGE pub and its loyal customers have raised £6,000 for multiple sclerosis sufferers.

The White Hart in West Bergholt entered MS-UK's first ever corporate challenge, to try to raise £925 in nine weeks, two days and five hours.

Launched in September, The 925 Challenge is to help mark the Colchester-based national charity's 25th birthday.

But the pub has exceeded its own expectations and raised thousands, by inviting customers to take part in a Penny for a Pound raffle game, a Family Fortunes quiz night and an auction.

Lyndsay Killick, land lady, wanted to take part as her dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was a teenager.

Mrs Killick, 43, said: "We have got collection pots on the bar and I didn't realise MS-UK is different to the MS Society.

"The pot on the bar was full up and I phoned the wrong place - I phoned up MS-UK to ask them to empty the tin.

"Then the lady asked me if I wanted to take a tin for them and to get involved with the challenge."

Eleven firms from the Colchester area have signed up to the charity's 925 Challenge and are invited to an awards night on November 22.

Mrs Killick, who moved from Witham to Colchester when she was 13, added: "From about the age of 11 my dad was diagnosed with MS and he was quite bad with it to start with.

"He went from needing a walking stick to crutches and then a wheelchair quite quickly, then went into a remission for few years.

"Recently he has gone back down hill and needs a walking stick again.

"When we were little and all through my teenage years there wasn't any family support, let alone support for the sufferers."

Lyndsay's colleague Julie West has also played a big part in helping to raise the cash.

Lyndsay added: "The community we have got here is absolutely amazing. We have got some really good customers that support all our causes."

Other teams entered into the challenge are: Charles Derby Financial Services Ltd, Direct Solutions, Ellisons Solicitors, Harp Commercial Interiors Ltd, NatWest, OPM Response Ltd, Push Energy Ltd, Whitehall Electrical Ltd and the networking group Pivotal.

Fundraising manager Jill Purcell said: “We are really impressed how all of the teams have really entered into the spirit of the 925 Challenge.

“Already the teams have raised over £9,000 for MS-UK which is incredible and we are only half way through.

“It’s also been great to see how the businesses have really come together as teams, arranged lots of different events and are having great fun by taking part. This is what a corporate challenge is all about - a win for the charity and a win for the businesses.”

MS is a disease of the central nervous system and the charity has a wellness centre and an advice phone line.