On Saturday, 26th January, 2019 a capacity attendance of nearly 200 people filled Cleator Moor Civic Hall & Masonic Centre, to witness the presentation of a brand new, Yamaha FJR1300A motorcycle to “Blood Bikes Cumbria”. The motorcycle was bought and paid for by the Freemasons of the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland. Blood Bikers provide the county with a unique voluntary transport service, couriering urgently needed blood, drugs, human tissue and other medical requirements between hospitals and medical centres, often operating under “blue light” conditions. They are all highly trained specialist advanced drivers.
The High Sheriff of Cumbria in Nomination, Mrs Marcia Reid-Fotheringham was the principal guest at this presentation. Other high profile local dignitaries present included Mrs Trudy Harrison MP for Copeland, Mr Mike Starkey Mayor of Copeland, Mr Nick Ford Chair of Cleator Moor Town Council, Mrs Jane Micklethwaite Mayor of Millom, Mr David Farrell Chairman of Cleator Moor Chamber of Trade and Mrs Anne-Marie Moffat Chairperson of “Blood Bikes Cumbria”.
The Provincial Grand Master William Bewley, addressed the audience saying;
‘It is my pleasure to welcome you all here today to celebrate and honour the dedication of these two wheeled knights of the road, the Blood Bikers, and to present them with another new motorcycle for their fleet here in the northern part of the County, You, and community leaders accepted without hesitation the opportunity to meet and help celebrate the occasion with them. These volunteers espouse the very best of all that makes Britain Great, their selfless dedication to their cause and willingness to turn out at any time to deliver emergency supplies of blood, plasma and other life saving equipment which has saved many lives.
We are aware of some of those who have been saved by their quick actions and we owe them an immeasurable debt of gratitude for that commitment and dedication. The central part of today is the presentation of that new motorcycle to assist them in their work. We are pleased that the High Sheriff in Nomination is with us today and has agreed to present the keys of this latest motorcycle to them on behalf of the Freemasons of Cumberland & Westmorland.’
At that point Mrs Marcia Reid-Fotheringham addressed the audience herself. She thanked the Provincial Grand Master for the honour of being invited to present the keys to the “Blood Bikes Cumbria” and she too praised the devotion and dedication of their voluntary service to the community. She then officially presented the keys to Mrs Anne-Marie Moffat Chairperson of “Blood Bikes Cumbria”, who was then joined by the rest of her Blood Bike colleagues. In response, Anne-Marie said “I am absolutely amazed and so humbled by the generosity of the Freemasons”
This is the fourth motorcycle donated by the Freemasons of the Province to the Blood Bike Charities which cover Cumbria and surrounding districts. The first was presented at the Kendal Leisure Centre in September 2017 to “Blood Bikes Cumbria”, at the Tercentenary Celebrations of Freemasonry. The second was presented in May 2018 to the “North West Blood Bikes Lancs & Lakes” at the Provincial AGM in Carlisle. The third motorcycle was presented at Kendal Masonic Hall in July 2018, and was dedicated to the memory of the late Russell Curwen, a rider for “North West Blood Bikes Lancs & Lakes”, who was tragically killed whilst on duty.
In striving to support the local community at large, the Blood Bike Charity has become close to the hearts of all Freemasons, who recognise the commitment and devotion of their volunteer riders, whose unselfish dedication has saved countless lives, helping the sick and infirm. Each motorcycle costs on average £18,000 and the Freemasons of the Province of Cumberland & Westmorland are all extremely proud to be able to support this very worthwhile and much-needed cause.
Seven members of the Masonic motorcycle club, “Widows Sons Cumberland & Westmorland Motorcycle Chapter” who raise money for charitable causes were also in attendance. They were delighted to have the opportunity to present “Blood Bikes Cumbria” with a further cheque for £500. In addition, the Mayor of Cleator Moor Nick Ford, also presented a cheque for £100 on behalf of the Town Council, to the Blood Bikers. Both cheques were thankfully albeit somewhat emotionally received by Anne-Marie.
Having completed the formalities of the motorcycle presentation the Provincial Grand Master again stood up and addressed the audience saying;
‘Because the Trustees of the Cumberland & Westmorland Provincial Masonic Benevolent Fund were aware of the presentation today and knew that our High Sheriff in Nomination would be here to assist us with the presentation, we thought it seem appropriate on behalf of the Province to make a donation to the High Sheriffs’ Charity. When she takes office, this donation will probably be passed to the Cumbria Community Foundation with whom we have worked in the past helping with the distribution of flood relief, an organisation that helps with a host of many local small to medium charities and in line with our own charitable objectives.
I would therefore like to make a presentation to Mrs Marcia Reid Fotheringham towards her charity, and ask her to accept a cheque from the Province and the Brethren of Cumberland & Westmorland to the amount of £5000.00 to assist with her good work.’
A visibly shocked and but very happy Marcia Reid Fotheringham thanked the Provincial Grand Master and the Province for their exceptional kindness and generosity. When I later spoke to the High Sheriff in Nomination Mrs Marcia Reid-Fotheringham, she told me ‘This has been a totally impressive event, done by highly committed people and the sign of the good heartedness of Cumbrian Freemasons, and I am honoured to have been included.’
Worshipful Brother Brian S Ferrington
Blood Bike Presentation Organiser
Below are photos taken during the presentation at the Cleator Moor Masonic Center.
Thanks to Brian Ferrington for the photographs.