For over a decade a number of Masons, and in some cases their wives, from the Furness and South Lakeland Group have taken a Sunday morning trip to the beautiful countryside around the bottom end of Lake Windermere; the reason for this very friendly visit being that they have been called upon to partake in the marshalling of the Brathay Marathon.
The Brathay Trust is a charitable organisation which has as its mission statement, ‘To improve the life chances of children, young people and families by inspiring them to engage positively in their communities.’ One of the main fund raising events held by the Trust is the Brathay Marathon which includes a circumnavigation of Lake Windermere, beginning and ending at its magnificent base at Brathay Hall situated, at the north of the lake. Unsurprisingly given its location it has been voted the most picturesque marathon course in the country.
When the idea to hold the run was first put forward it was obvious that they would need many volunteer marshalls to man a route which included some narrow and winding country roads. It provided quite a challenge. The then group charity steward Phil Preston agreed to round up some Masons to look after that part of the route which passed through our area.
11 years later the group is still providing marshalls, although responsibility for pulling them together has now passed into the hands of Phil’s successor Richard Wilcock. It is a relatively small but vital part of the operation as without marshalls the event simply cannot go ahead.
Once again 30 volunteers gave up their Sunday morning this year and donned hi-vis jackets to ensure the smooth running of the marathon. Fortunately after a cloudy start it developed into a beautiful morning and everyone was able to enjoy sunshine and fresh Lakeland air as they went about their tasks.
As well as the safety aspect, the marshalls have another very important duty, that of encouraging the runners as they pass by. The shouts and claps certainly seem to boost spirits as the runners reach the turning point to go back up the east of the lake and gives them a shot in the arm as fatigue sets in.
Group chairman Peter Schofield was one of those who donned a hi-vis jacket and he commented: “I know from the letters we receive that the Brathay Trust is very appreciative of our role in helping them stage this important fund raising event. In turn I am very grateful to Richard and all the other brethren and their wives who give of their time and demonstrate how Masons can work publically in supporting the community. The previous evening had seen the group concert at Ulverston Coronation Hall and many of those involved on the Saturday evening had gotten up early to put in a shift on Sunday morning as well. Well done one and all.”
The event raises on average £100,000 each year and the event this year will mean the total raised over the years is in excess of £1,100,000.
The volunteers also did their bit for the local hospitality industry as Peter, most enthusiastically, and his team pumped their money into the coffers of local hotels in purchasing cups of coffee and bacon buns!