South Shields Freemason is halfway through charity challenge to fund teddies for sick children

A retired postman is hoping to stay on course with his walking challenge and smash his fundraising target to buy teddy bears for sick children in hospital.

Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 5:00 am
Freemason Kevin Carter holding Teddy Bears outside of the South Shields Masonic Hall. Picture by FRANK REID

Freemason Kevin Carter has already raised £5,000 - half of his £10,000 goal- as he continues on his mission to visit all 37 Masonic Lodges in the Province of Durham on foot.

He started his first trip in August by walking from his South Shields home to the lodge in Ingham Street.

Jarrow Keystore More owners Barrie and Tracy, with Big Ted from the TLC scheme and Jeanette Gordon, sales and development representative for Filshill.

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Each trip will see him continue his journey from the last lodge he has visited to the next one on his list.

It is estimated he will cover around 250 miles once his challenge is completed which will include visits to Ryton, Middleton in Teesdale, Hartlepool, Chester-le-Street, Darlington, Crook and Sunderland.

Money raised through his walking venture will be donated to the Teddies Scheme which funds teddies to be donated to children who are receiving hospital treatment.

To date more than 80,000 have been donated to youngsters in hospitals within the Province of Durham which includes South Tyneside.

Mr Carter, who ran the post office and newsagents in Biddick Hall, South Shields, said: “I am half-way through the challenge and have already raised £5,000.

“I am aiming to complete the challenge by the end of May but I will have to see how things go - to finish by the end of May is my own personal challenge.”

He has been supported in the walking feat by his brother Barrie who donated £250 to the cause, they’d been gifted by company Filshill following the re-opening of their Keystore More in Jarrow.

“My brother Barrie had his shop refitted in Jarrow after moving from a Keystore to a Keystore More. As part of the promotion he was given £250 from Filshill, the company who owns the store.

“He donated that into the fund and also supplied selection boxes for the children at Christmas.”

During his visits, Mr Carter will be staging raffles at each of the lodges as well as raising money through sponsorship of the walk.

The Teddies for Loving Care Appeal started more than 15 years ago as a way of a Freemason based in Essex to say thank you to the hospital that saved his wife. Since then, the idea has been adopted by other Provinces throughout the country. Talks are underway to look at expanding the scheme to include providing teddies to police and schools where a bear may comfort a child in distress.