East Lakes Group – 2020 Provincial Grand Master’s Matched Funding Initiative

Despite the severe restrictions on Masonic activities caused by Coronavirus, the Lodges and Chapters of the East Lakes Group made every effort to contribute to the 2020 Matched Funding Initiative, and accumulated slightly over the £3,000 hoped for. The Province ‘matched’ the Group’s efforts to enable £6,000 to be distributed to the Group’s 3 chosen charities.

Lodges and Chapters had nominated a total of twelve worthy recipients, which were eventually reduced to three ‘local’ charities which would benefit greatly from a £2,000 grant, and specifically benefit the community.

As last year, it would have been wonderful to present the cheques to the chosen charities at the 2020 annual Craft Provincial Meeting, but that was not to be for obvious reasons.

The following three chosen charities have now been presented with their grants by the Group Chairman, W. Bro. Glyn Titterington, in socially distanced outdoor settings.


  1. The Beep Fund Trust   ( nominated by Ullswater Lodge ) 

Following on from similar pioneering work done by his father in the 1970’s and 80’s, and subsequently by the Penrith & District Accident Scheme, Dr. Theo Weston MBE started the Beep Fund in April 1994 to develop the service further.  

“We felt there was a need to take the scheme a step further. We bought more sophisticated equipment and a dedicated vehicle (the Immediate Response Vehicle) which was capable of carrying this equipment to wherever it was needed. This vehicle is kept in Penrith and attends road traffic accidents and many other medical emergencies over a wide area.”

Dr Theo Weston MBE
BEEP Doctor and Chairman                                                                                                

Since it began, the Beep Fund has now moved on from just three Doctors and a 15 mile operating radius around Penrith, to fifteen highly trained Doctors, whose own cars are equipped with ‘Blues and Twos’ and emergency equipment, in addition to the dedicated response vehicle, the Beep Fund now covers most of Cumbria from Kendal up to the Scottish Borders.

Every penny donated or raised goes into running the vehicles, paying for equipment and covering the costs of training the doctors doing this work. By supporting this charity we are helping to save lives in our local community.

The BEEP Fund is run by volunteers, as well as their unpaid team of BEEP Doctors, but it costs in excess of £30,000 a year to keep it going; including equipment and travel. With the support and generosity of the people of Cumbria, the charity has managed to continue this vital lifesaving work for the last 25 years.

The £2,000 donated by the East Lakes Group of Lodges and Chapters will be used specifically for specialist medications and medical equipment for the response vehicles. Dr. Weston explained that the Fund relies totally on public support and that due to Covid 19 the charity has experienced a dramatic reduction in fund raising and donations during 2020. Our £2,000 had come at a very appropriate time and will help greatly in keeping the Beep service going.


2.The Alston Recreation Ground Trust    (nominated by Alston Lodge )  

The area owned by the charity is known locally as the “Fairhill”. This is a plot of land of around 5 acres in size at the top end of Alston Town. This land was donated to the community many years ago and is owned and managed by a committee of Trustees, for the benefit and enjoyment of the local community.

To this day, many people think this is land and maintained by Eden District Council, however this could not be further from the truth, and it is left entirely to the volunteer trustees and fellow Alston locals to maintain this area of recreation.

The Fairhill, has within its boundaries, a Bowls Green and pavilion, a five aside football pitch, basket ball court, small child’s play area and older children’s play park as well as a fitness section and BBQ facilities. The area is very popular with families and people of all ages. In the summer month a purpose built car park is popular with visitors, which allows them direct access to this green space.

The Trustees hope to plant a community orchard and extend some areas to community gardening. They are also looking at the possibility of installing a BMX Bike track if and when funding allows.

Larger capital projects can sometimes be funded by Grants. Unfortunately however, there are no grants available in any form for day to day maintenance once these projects have been installed and the local volunteers have to find ways in order to fund essential maintenance.

The cost of basic grass cutting, general maintenance and insurance is in excess of £4,000 per annum, however the trust doesn’t have the spare cash to do other maintenance, such as Stone wall rebuilding and fencing which is desperately needed round our wetland area. This maintenance is at a standstill until funding can be found.

The East Lakes Group’s grant of £2,000 was presented to the Trusts Chair Lady, Lissie Sharp, and a small number of the Trustees by the Group Chairman, W. Bro. Glyn Titterington. Lissie explained that fund raising has been very limited during the Covid pandemic. The £2,000 will be unbelievably helpful in taking forward essential maintenance and the plan to create a BMX bike track and the community orchard.


Eden Valley Friends of Dementia       ( nominated by the Vale of Eden Lodge )

This charity was originally nominated for East Lakes Group support by W. Bro. Ged Soulsby of the Vale of Eden Lodge, and subsequently wholeheartedly supported by the Brethren of that Lodge with a very generous and significant donation.

This charity became an official Dementia UK fundraising group at the beginning of February 2019. Fran Flower, of Culgaith, Penrith was inspired to set up the group as she is determined to get an Admiral Nurse in Cumbria and specifically in the Eden Valley area. While caring for her husband, John, near the end of his life, Fran found Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Helpline invaluable.

The Eden Valley Friends of Dementia therefore set about fundraising in March 2019.

Dementia UK aims to ensure that direct expert specialist nursing support is provided to families or individuals affected by dementia.  It does this largely through the provision of Admiral Nurses – similar to MacMillan nurses. The nurses offer support either at home or through a dedicated helpline.  There are no Admiral Nurses in Cumbria and the aim of the support group is to help raise awareness and part fund an Admiral Nurse in the Eden Valley for an initial 2 year period.  This is a pilot project for the county and, if successful, hopefully more Admiral Nurses will be funded throughout Cumbria. 

The Eden Valley Friends of Dementia are volunteers who are dedicated to improving the provision of excellent services to those affected by dementia in our local area.

The £2,000 grant was received by one of the Trustees, Nigel Faulkner. The cheque was presented by the Group Chairman, W. Bro. Glyn Titterington who was accompanied by W. Bro. Mike Hewitt, the Charity Steward of the Vale of Eden Lodge. This grant will be directly allocated to the ‘local’ sub charity for the specific provision of an Admiral Nurse in the local area. 

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