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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Friends spend night on Cumbrian fell to boost warmth fund

A hardy team braved sub-zero temperatures to highlight the plight of Cumbrians suffering in the cold.

Winter warmth group photo
Ben Berry, Debbie Cosgrove, Andy Beeforth, Gary McKeating, Chris Tomlinson and Richard Leafe

Six prominent county figures took to the fells and spent a night sleeping under the stars.

Each hopes to use their high-profile business and community presence to encourage people to think about others less fortunate than themselves.

And they have urged others to follow their lead by backing Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Fund.

The money is used to help people struggling to heat their homes during the coldest months of the year.

An average of 300 deaths occur in Cumbria each year due to the effects of cold weather.

Sleeping out on the fells gave those involved in the campaign a taste of what it can be like for those left with no choice but to suffer in freezing conditions because they can’t afford to have their heating on.

Community foundation director Andy Beeforth led the group that spent Saturday night above Stickle Tarn in the Langdales.

They had been hoping to spend the night on the aptly-named Cold Pike, but ice and snow on Wrynose Pass made it dangerous to ascend from Three Shires Stone.

Mr Beeforth said: “The camaraderie provided by everyone made it a very special trip.

“We have up to two months of cold weather ahead of us so please donate to support the appeal.”

The others in the team were foundation grants committee member and former Cumbria Woman of the Year Debbie Cosgrove; foundation trustee and former Cumbria Tourism chief executive Chris Tomlinson; Gary McKeating, head of socio-economics at Nuclear Management Partners; Lake District National Park Authority boss Richard Leafe; and Ben Berry, a South Lakeland councillor whose family runs English Lakes Hotels.

Along with Mr Beeforth, Mr McKeating chose to forego the comfort of a tent to sleep outside in a bivvy bag.

He said: “We’re very fortunate to be choosing to sample the cold and discomfort. Sadly for many people choosing between heating and eating is a daily decision.

“The Winter Warmth Appeal has now raised £43,500 and we’ve already helped 120 older people with grants and expect that figure to rise to 300.”

The fundraisers spent the night on the fells after promising they would sample what it’s like to try to sleep in the extreme cold if money pledged to the fund exceeded the £42,000 given last year.

The fund, which has the support of politicians and other prominent Cumbrians, is in its third year.

Some better off older people who do not need the winter fuel payments they automatically receive from the Government have donated their money to the appeal.

HOW TO DONATE
Online: http://www.justgiving.com/winterwarmthfund.
Text: Send a message to 70070 including our code WINT37. You can donate £2, £5 or £10.
Post: Send a cheque payable to: ‘Cumbria Community Foundation’ and write ‘Winter Warmth’ on the back. Post to: Cumbria Community Foundation, Dovenby Hall, Dovenby, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN.

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