Back in January the Furness and South Lakeland Group ran its annual dinner with boxing evening at the Cumbria Grand Hotel, Grange-over-Sands. This year the amount raised at this very successful event was £11,000.
It is the policy of the boxing committee to give half of the money raised to local good causes. Boxing committee chairman Barrie Bray commented: “Since the inception of the event it has always been the policy to equally divide the monies raised between Masonic and non-Masonic charities. The occasion is always a sell-out with many of those in attendance being non-Masons.”
As has become the usual practice a presentation evening was held at Barrow-in-Furness Masonic Hall when the recipients were given their donations. It is not the policy of the boxing committee to announce the value of each donation, but the total given to non-Masonic causes was £5,500.
On being presented with their donation each recipient had opportunity to explain a little about their organisation and the use the money would be put to.
Kendal Boxing Club, under whose auspices the event is run, received a donation as did the local Barrow ABC and Furness Catholic ABC. Jeff Mosses, the coach of Barrow ABC brought along three of his charges to give a demonstration of some of their training drills. One of these was Ethan Holt who had been in action at the Cumbria Grand in 2018. He has since gone on to win regional finals and progressed through to the national championships. As a champion the club now allow him to wear shorts bearing his name rather than the club provided gear.
The donation to Barrow ABC was made by group chairman Peter Schofield.
The good causes who benefitted on the evening serve the Furness community in a variety of ways, but all add to the quality of life of people within the area.
Ellyse Rochford represented Sandside Special School which caters for children with special needs. The school is soon to re-locate to new premises but, although the build has been paid for, there is still a lot of fund-raising required so that the rooms can be properly equipped. The donation from the boxing will go towards the provision of a hydroponic pool which will prove of great benefit to many of the pupils.
The Loppergarth Playground Group were represented by Lynne Dingle. The playground in this small village near Ulverston is a community asset managed and financed by the residents. The money Lynne received will be put towards replacing an ageing climbing frame.
Boxing chairman Barrie Bray presented a donation to Gemma Gerrish from the Barrow Sea Cadets for the purchase of bedding for the premises where local and travelling young people spend the weekend whilst learning to sail and row.
A near neighbour of the Sea Cadets is Duddon Canoe Club which provides training for all sorts of paddle sports who were presented with a donation towards the purchase of a large paddle board suitable for the disabled. Graham Benson made the presentation to club official Scott Wilson.
Womens Community Matters, Barrow were represented by Pam Dilkes who received a donation from boxing committee secretary Kieron Mullan. She explained how the group worked with other agencies to help make a difference for vulnerable women and families.
Group charity steward Richard Wilcock presented a donation to Shirley Coyle who had started the Seymour Court Garden Fund. Seymour Court provides sheltered accommodation for independent living. The communal garden is hardly being used which Shirley discovered was because the paths were unsafe and it was generally over-run. The money will be used to improve the garden so that the 60 residents can enjoy some time in the fresh air.
One donation had already been made which was to St Cuthbert’s Nursing Home, Aldingham which caters for people with dementia. A Mason visiting the premises had discovered that the residents were clustered around one small television. On hearing of this the boxing committee purchased a large screen television which they had installed at St Cuthbert’s.
Other recipients included the volunteer paramedics who give their services at the boxing event, the local branch of the Samaritans and the Owl Sanctuary. Once again Paul Rose MBE who runs the sanctuary brought along some of his birds to the presentation evening.
The other £5,500 was accounted for by a distribution to each Masonic meeting place in the group and a donation to the group charity account for the MCF 2021 Festival.
Following the disbursement of the cheques the visitors were welcomed to a buffet supper and glass of wine.
Barrie summed up the occasion saying: “To hear first-hand what the money raised will be used for is quite enlightening. It is eye-opening to learn of what the boxing clubs offer for the young people of the area or what the canoe club can provide for all ranges of society. The good causes we have donated to have one common thread and that is it that they all rely on volunteers who add greatly to our communities. They deserve our support and thanks.”
During the course of its 33 year old history the dinner with boxing evening has raised over £200,000 for good causes. Arrangements for the 2020 event are now underway with it being guaranteed to be a sell out once again.