Award for UK ice bucket pioneers Paula and Robert Maguire

Robert and Paula Maguire of Ryhill near Wakefield take up the ice bucket challenge as their daughters Megan 13 and Kelsey 18 give them a soaking  to raise funds for a Motor Neurone Disease charity
Robert and Paula Maguire of Ryhill near Wakefield take up the ice bucket challenge as their daughters Megan 13 and Kelsey 18 give them a soaking to raise funds for a Motor Neurone Disease charity

A dedicated Ryhill couple who raised more than £4million for charity by bringing the Ice Bucket Challenge social media craze to the UK have been recognised with a national award.

Paula and Robert Maguire have been selected to receive a British Citizen Award (BCA) for their services to volunteering and charitable giving.

The couple pioneered the ice bucket challenge craze in this country and their efforts raised millions for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

Mr Maguire was the first in the UK to take the challenge when he was drenched in the garden of the couple’s home.

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

“For our JustGiving page to have raised so much money means a lot to our family. When the page hit £1million we cried.

“People who suffer from the condition have told us we have given them hope which is amazing.” Paula and Robert will be among 33 medallists who will be honoured at a prestigious ceremony on January 28, at the Palace of Westminster.

Last year Paula was also crowned national fundraiser of the year at the Pride of Britain Awards.

Mr Maguire added: “I knew that our daughter, Kelsey, had nominated us but we didn’t tell my wife, so it was a complete shock to her when she found out we would be receiving an award.

“We do a lot of fundraising and we don’t seek recognition at all. But it is nice to be recognised, it’s a nice feeling. As a family we are very much looking forward to attending the awards ceremony next month.”

Kelsey said: “My parents spent many hours on social media promoting the Ice Bucket Challenge.

“Their hard work made sure that people knew that ALS and MND were the same disease.”

The ice bucket challenge involved having a bucket of ice cold water tipped over your head, then nominating two friends, who had 24 hours to do the same.

The challenge first went viral in America when the family of Pete Frates, a baseball player who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease two years ago, started their own campaign.

In America the challenge was done to raise money and awareness for the ALS Association to research the disease.

In Britain people took part to raise money for various charities including Macmillan and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

In total more than £7m was raise for the MNDA.