Diocese of Carlisle

    Mothers’ Union county-wide fundraising cycle

    Latest News
    7 July 2022

    Two Cumbrian Mothers’ Union members have kicked off a 300-mile fundraising cycle ride to benefit the Bishop of Carlisle’s Harvest Appeal.

    Retired hospital consultant Deb Lee - who was appointed the MU’s Cumbrian President earlier this year - has taken to the saddle alongside Action and Outreach Co-ordinator Daphne Sisson.

    They plan to visit every church in Cumbria which has an MU branch and yesterday (Wednesday 6 July), set off from Lanercost Priory on the first of 10 legs which will take in Carlisle Cathedral, three priories and 48 churches.

    Each route will average about 30 miles with Deb and Daphne also being photographed outside each of the parish churches. They plan to finish at Cartmel Priory on 30 July.

    Deb explained: “The purpose of the ride is two-fold. Firstly, we want to raise both money for and awareness of the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal and, secondly, I want to meet as many members as possible.

    “The Harvest Appeal is currently supporting two fantastic projects. One of those is helping women in the Democratic Republic of Congo with literary, numeracy and agricultural skills. DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world and as a result many girls do not have the opportunity to go to school.

    “The MU is very active in that country and is constantly looking to help women play a much more active part in their communities. The Bishop’s Harvest appeal is also supporting the work of Christian Aid in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, again providing women with agricultural skills.”

    The DRC programme has already trained volunteer community facilitators who are reaching out to over 750 disadvantaged community members across four dioceses, teaching them to read and write.

    Meanwhile, the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal has helped communities in Gaza and the West Bank meet

    the challenges of COVID-19, supporting the renovation of wells, access to water and improving hygiene, as well as delivering food parcels to the most vulnerable. In the West Bank, East Jerusalem YMCA’s Women’s Development Program (WDP) has also run cultivation classes.

    With about 1,000 Cumbrian Mothers’ Union members, Deb also sees the ride as a wonderful opportunity to meet as many people as possible. She and Daphne plan to hand out up to 1,000 special bags as they make the journey, each containing a knitted heart, a cross, a bar of chocolate, and information about the Harvest Appeal and sponsorship.

    Deb added: “As the new President, I was also very keen to meet as many members as I can. This cycle ride will be a great way to do that, though I fear Daphne and I will look like Tweedledum and Tweedledee when we’ve finished as each branch has said they’ll put on refreshments for us!”

    Elaine Nightingale, branch chair of Lanercost Priory MU, provided the riders with a small cross which they can take with them on their journey.

    She said: “It’s so important to feel joined up; we’re all working towards the same ends. It was so difficult during Covid because people were unable to meet. But now’s the chance through events like this bike ride to come together again as a group across Cumbria. It’s a theme for the Mothers’ Union that we are stronger together.”

    The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, has welcomed the cycle ride in aid of his Harvest appeal.

    Bishop James said: “This is no small undertaking by Deb and Daphne and I am incredibly grateful to them for raising money and awareness of my Harvest Appeal. As they cycle from church to church may I encourage people to hold them both in prayer and also those in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories who will ultimately benefit from their efforts.”

    A target of £500 has been set for the fundraising with a special crowdfunding JustGiving page available here.

    You can also follow their progress on the Carlisle Diocese Mothers’ Union Facebook page.


    Notes to editors

    Visit the Diocese of Carlisle website for more about the Bishop of Carlisle’s Harvest Appeal.

    For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Head of Communications, on 07469 153658 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.