Royal praise for Ryhill ice bucket pioneers

Robert and Paula Maguire of Ryhill near Wakefield give the thumbs up after completing the ice bucket challenge to raise funds for a Motor Neurone Disease charity
Robert and Paula Maguire of Ryhill near Wakefield give the thumbs up after completing the ice bucket challenge to raise funds for a Motor Neurone Disease charity
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A dedicated Ryhill couple who raised £4m for charity after kickstarting the biggest social media craze of 2014 have received royal recognition.

Robert and Paula Maguire pioneered the ice bucket challenge craze in this country and their efforts have raised £4m for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

Mr McGuire is thought to be the first in the UK to take the challenge when he was drenched in the garden of the couple’s home in Hammerton Farm Avenue.

Earlier this month the couple’s work was recognised when they were invited to meet the charity’s patron Princess Anne.

Mr McGuire said: “We’ve been raising money for the MNDA since Paula’s uncle Stuart Hughes died from the condition in 2009, aged 50.

“We saw the ice bucket challenge sweep America raising money for ALS – the US motor neurone disease charity – and decided to get involved.”

Mr McGuire put the footage of the stunt on YouTube and asked friends and family to get involved.

Within weeks the idea went viral on social media and the couple’s Just Giving page reached more than £4m.

Mr Maguire, 45, said: “Meeting Princess Anne was an honour.

“When we set up the page six months ago we never thought that it would lead to us meeting and discussing the ice bucket challenge with her.

“She said the only reason she never did the challenge was because she wasn’t nominated.

” We are very proud to have been part of such a successful fundraising campaign and never imagined that so much money would be raised.

“Altogether just over £7m was raised - about half of what the MND A raises in a year.

“The money will make a big difference to people living with motor neurone disease and their families.”