The creator of a “sofa social life” for sufferers of multiple sclerosis has received high praise for using her online skills to help support their plight.

Tanya Downs, 34, has MS - a disabling neurological condition affecting the brain and the nervous system - diagnosed in 2009 at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.

The Wimbledon photographer’s efforts to create a “safe online haven” of support networks for MS sufferers paid off on September 26, when she was commended by the MS Society Awards at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.

She said: "It is a great honour, a very unexpected honour and a big surprise.

“It was wonderful to know a lot of my support groups nominated me.”

Her Facebook group, Ladies with Lesions, has a 1,200-strong membership and allows MS sufferers to talk about their experiences.

She said: “Some are quite disabled with their MS, and being able to have a social life from the safety of their own living room has been a life-line.”

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