Natalie Ambers 43-mile hand bike challenge!

Natalie Amber outside Bolton Arena, pointing are her MND top.

TV and stage actor Natalie Amber is planning a 43-mile hand bike challenge from Bolton Arena Sports Village to Blackpool in the hope of raising £5,000 for research into motor neurone disease (MND), but one important thing is missing – the hand bike!


Now Bolton-based Natalie, who is a wheelchair-user, is hoping one of the town’s businesses will sponsor the purchase of a specialist hand bike that Natalie will then donate to Wheels for All, a national accessible cycling charity, when the challenge is over.


MND is life-shortening and there is no cure. It stops messages from the motor neurones gradually reaching the muscles. This leads the muscles to weaken, stiffen and waste, which can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe.


Natalie’s ambition to fundraise for the MND Association follows her role as Shelly on Coronation Street, when she was introduced as a pal of Paul Foreman in a storyline about MND, with the pair striking up a friendship as Paul struggled with his diagnosis.


“It was a huge responsibility as an actor to take on a role like that because you want – and need – to get it right for the (MND) community,” says Natalie.


“It’s just a very cruel illness. There’s a lack of efficient testing and people can go ages without even getting a diagnosis.


“There are some great trials going on, but they need so much money pumping into them. So, I thought well, what better thing can I give back than try and do a big fundraiser?”


The event, called Roll and Raise, is scheduled for June 29th as part of MND Awareness Month, and just eight days after the global MND Awareness Day held on June 21st every year.


It has become even more poignant following the passing of Rugby League legend Rob Burrow, who died on Sunday. He was diagnosed with MND in 2019, and since then he has campaigned and raised funds to support research into MND along with his best friend and former Leeds RLFC team mate Kevin Sinfield.



Natalie will be setting off from the Arena in Horwich where she will be joined by members of the Bolton Hot Wheels Cycling Club, for riders aged five to 16 years, and some riders from Wheels for All, who Natalie has been training with, for a handful of laps of the cycle track there.


She will then head off for Walton Summit, Adlington and towards to the Fylde coast. The route will finish at Blackpool Tower, via Lytham St Anne’s.


Stuart Kay, Bolton Arena Sports Village Head of Sport and Communities, says: “Considering that we already had Hot Wheels on the track that morning, it aligns perfectly to kickstart Natalie’s journey. It’s a fantastic opportunity to support her cause and showcase our community’s spirit.”


Natalie adds: “I know there’s going to be very few people that will do the whole 43 miles with me, but the idea is that people can join me to do as little or as much of the route as they want. As long as they’re raising money for MND and having a bit of fun, that’s what it’s about.”


Pubs and schools have been asked if they will offer their venues as rest stops and joining in points along the route.


And Natalie is assured of a rousing welcome on the last leg of her route when children from Meadow Hill Education and Arts Nursery in Bolton, where Natalie’s mother Sonia Joy Biggs is Principal, will walk and scoot with her from Blackpool Pleasure Beach to the Tower.


Natalie had been building her career as an actress and dancer in London when she suffered a life-changing fall, which has resulted in her becoming a wheelchair user. Her roles on TV include parts in Casualty, Doctors and Silent Witness (BBC), Paranoid (ITV) and Fool Me Once (Netflix).


She has also starred in several theatre productions throughout her career and is currently exploring wheelchair dance with various companies following an Arts Council grant last year.


Anyone wishing to sponsor the purchase of a hand bike to put Natalie on the road for her fundraiser should contact her at