When Geoff Cousen, a much respected and well known former Chairman of Lancaster and District Group suffered a stroke, it meant that he faced many weeks of therapy and associated treatment for him to regain his mobility and relative independence.
His family soon realised that the support and facilities available through the local health service were not going to be sufficient to aid Geoff in his primary goal, which was to re-join his wife Brenda in their family home.
The WLFC were approached and provided a grant to enable Geoff to be independently assessed by an occupational therapist. It was at this stage that the Masonic Samaritan Fund were asked to assist in making intense physiotherapy sessions available whilst Geoff was recovering in a nursing home and to consider some alterations or additional aids possible within his home. These aids, including a stairlift, profiling bed and riser-reclining chair, would allow Geoff to leave residential care and continue his recovery at home.
The application fortunately met with the criteria of the fund and the charity were delighted to assist, ensuring that both the physiotherapy schedule and equipment were available in a relatively short timeframe and Geoff’s recovery was accelerated as a result.
Geoff and Brenda’s daughter Sue was particularly grateful for the help that the MSF had given her father and therefore she decided to find a way of, in her own words: “giving something back to the charity in recognition of the assistance they had provided for dad”.
She then decided to embark on something that not many would contemplate attempting; the ‘Ultimate Trails Challenge’. This is an annual gruelling and punishing 50 kilometre trail through the mountains of the Lake District involving no less than 1,600 metres of cumulative ascent over the course.
She raised £600 through her web based ‘JustGiving’ page and an additional £1,400 was pledged by lodges and chapters within the Lancaster and District Group. The final amount raised will be announced later as donations are still arriving!
The day of the race was cool with overcast cloud and potential for showers. Starting from Ambleside, the first leg was a gruelling climb up to the first checkpoint at Kirkstone Pass (route is a gradient of 1:5 and the track is known locally as ‘The Struggle’.
This was her first non-road marathon, so she had no idea what to expect. The friendliness and camaraderie she said: “was wonderful and supportive.”
Sue was quoted as saying some of the hardest times were going downhill as this was: “hard on my feet and legs”, but was very happy with her performance of just over 10 hrs 38 mins and finished 217 out of a field of 312.
Sue was heard to say she would definitely do another one and was “possibly considering the 100 Km Challenge”
Geoff Cousen has managed to attend his first Masonic meeting since he suffered the two strokes. This was a to remember Geoff and celebrate with him his golden anniversary in Royal Arch.
At the celebration meeting Geoff said: “I spent many years talking about Masonic charities as a representative at installations, but never truly realised what an essential role they play till I had need of them. I will always be eternally grateful for the support they have given me.”