Focus on Bear-Patrol (First published in Positive Nation, December 2012.)
I created a homepage so I could keep in touch with everyone more easily rather than texting to tell them where we would be starting out on a Saturday night; that was back in 2008/9 around the same time Facebook and the whole social media concept was coming into its own. From there the social meetings quickly grew which inspired me to create the social group Bear- Patrol which is open to everybody (you don’t need to be a bear to join) and we started organising trips out.
It was during one Bear-Patrol’s gathering in December that Danny and his friends had the idea to raise some funds for the Sussex Beacon, which is one of only two clinical care centres in the UK. Over the last twenty years the Sussex Beacon has been providing care and support for men and women living with HIV/AIDS. The Sussex Beacon provides a ten bedded inpatient unit and an outpatient services which includes, anxiety management, sleep service, day service and women & families services. With government cut backs hitting the Sussex Beacon hard with their running costs coming in at £1.1 million a year, the Sussex Beacon rely heavily on fundraising from individuals and group organisations such as Bear-Patrol.
Bear-Patrol’s first fundraising idea was simple, they would build a Santa’s grotto at the back of their local pub, with one of Bear-Patrol’s members, Ant Howells, dressing up as Santa and charging the customers a pound to have their photo taken sitting on Santa’s knee and getting a yuletide kiss, which in turn raised £280 pounds. From then on Danny and the group quickly realised that they could meet up, have some fun and raise some funds and profile for a local charity.
Since then the group has gone from strength to strength, gaining members as far away as Greece and the U.S.A. while sticking to the same ethos of ensuring its members have fun, new members are made welcomed and included while raising funds for the Sussex Beacon.
In the last two years members of Bear-patrol have participated in the Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s sport day, help to re-establish a forest through planting tree saplings during a camping weekend at Hammonds Wood as well as continue to run their A-Z outings to places around Sussex. Other fundraising ventures have included a team from Bear-Patrol running the Sussex Beacon’s half marathon, while others have completed two, 14,000ft tandem Parachute Jumps. Since Danny established Bear-Patrol two years ago the group have raised over £30.000, for The Sussex Beacon.
2013 see’s Bear Patrol, along with Zhoosh founder Susan Luxford, runing in Brighton’s Half Marathon, to raise funds for Brighton’s Sussex Beacon along with other Bear Patrolletts, Team Runners are: Danny Dwyer, Adam Betteridge, Jonathan Terry, Ian Chaplin, Mark Flood, Shaun Roe, Paul Brown, Robert Taylor, Jason Bramwell, Nicolas Collins, Colin Bentley, Martin Still, Margot Uden, Robert Sz, Antonio DaVinci, Lawrence Simpson, PJ Hopper, Ant Pay, Deborah Wolf, David Wilkes & Fiona Coad-Window.
To spounser Bear Patrol and help raise some much needed funds for the Sussex Beacon, please follow this link.