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Bear necessities at Windermere guest house

robert and leonard named after paresnts


Visitors to a Windermere guest house might occasionally be joined in the dining room or sitting room by an unexpected character – a teddy bear.

The extra guest will be one of the collection of more than 300 bears owned by Mary and Philip Burton who run the guest house 1 Park Road.

The couple have been collecting teddy bears for more than 20 years and they include some antique specimens, and representatives of countries around the world from the couple’s travels, or gifts from family and friends.

Mary, an enthusiastic craftswoman and upholsterer, knits scarves for all the bears, and they all have names. The biggest, Claude, was found sitting outside a secondhand shop “in the rain, all by himself. We took pity on him,” Philip explains.

There’s Chimay, from Belgium, named after one of Philip’s favourite Trappist beers; he’s something of an expert on beers from around the world.  There’s the obviously-named Two-Foot Nothing twins; Carly who was made by Mary at a workshop at Carlisle’s Lake District Bears; and Charlotte and Luther who were both bought at the exclusive Amsterdam department store, De Bijenkorf.

Chimay also has an occasional outing  when he goes with Philip, a piano teacher who trained as a concert pianist, to play the organ at the local church. “He causes havoc as he insists on ringing his own Sanctus bell,” says Philip with a wink. “Mary refuses to take him to her choir rehearsal at Levens.”

The collection is kept in Mary and Philip’s own quarters: “It would be too eccentric to have them all out, all over the house,” says Philip. But they are brought out for special occasions, perhaps a koala to join Australian guests watching a rugby match, and a bear from Berlin was introduced to German guests in the dining room. Philip’s a great cricket fan, and Kodiki, a bear from India, is brought out to watch when India and their captain Virat Kohli are playing.

“Some guests are perplexed and look away, but others are happy to have ‘conversations’ with the bears. It’s a real ice-breaker and anything which makes people smile has to be good; it can have a beneficial effect on mental health, making up stories.”

Philip and Mary took over 1 Park Road ten years ago after both had worked in the health service. They have since built up a loyal clientele who enjoy the luxury combined with eclectic design and décor, and the rather special breakfasts, as well as the bears.

There have been accidents; the Burton’s dog damaged a few, which were sent to the north west repair specialists, Alice’s Bear Shop and Teddy Bear Hospital, in St Helens. “We had such a nice letter back from them when the bears had ‘recovered’. They told us one had to be forwarded to an antique specialist for repair.”

Meanwhile, a different bear is chosen every morning for a special job. As the guest house website states: “What is the mysterious bell you hear at the start and at the end of breakfast? Who rings it? It’s not Mary or Philip and we don’t employ other staff so who or what is it?”

Mary and Philip with bears



Emergency response training in the heart of the Lake District

A specialist training programme in medical care is being staged in the Lake District in the new year.

The five-day Certificate in First Response Emergency Care (RQF) is a nationally recognised prehospital care qualification. It’s suitable for those seeking a career in the emergency services, ambulance service, the event and security medical sector or those who work in high risk workplaces or are just looking to extend their skills.

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Run by MedSkills Academy at their HQ near Ambleside, the course will give learners the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to deal with a range of prehospital care emergencies, such as managing a patient’s airways, catastrophic bleeding, management of fractures, medical emergencies and more.

It will cover issues including the roles and responsibilities of a first responder, medical emergencies, patient assessment, traumatic injuries, and how to deal with catastrophic bleeding, shock, poisoning and intoxicating substances, external and internal bleeding, helmet removal, neck, spine and pelvic immobilisation, environmental exposure, burns and scalds, minor injuries and incident reporting. It is endorsed by The Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care, The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

MedSkills director Nick Wright said: “This fantastic qualification is perfect for a range of roles in emergency care, such as event medical responder, emergency care support worker and more.”

The course runs from Jan 15-19 and accommodation can be arranged. For full details see

For more information call 0800 612 5123

Motivational running team head for awards night

A young business which has led more than 400 newcomers to take up running is in line for a sports award.

Jogging Pals has been shortlisted in the finals of the Cumbria Sports Awards, which will be celebrated on Friday night.

Founded three years ago by Glyn Rose and Wayne Singleton, both England Athletics coaches, the Jogging Pals programme has taken former non-runners from couch to 5k throughout Cumbria and North Lancashire.

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Glyn, Wayne and run leader Helen Pye

The scheme has  been so successful that the business now has six running leaders and is organising “improvers” programmes for runners who want to continue to 10k, 20k or even further. There are also guided runs in association with the National Trust and the Forestry Commission at Sizergh Castle and Grizedale Forest.

“It’s a great honour to be shortlisted for this award, and a tribute to our team,” said Wayne Singleton, a former smoker and drinker who now competes in triathlons, has run marathons, and is a keen open water swimmer. He works at the Alpkit store in Ambleside.

He started running again, after being a junior athlete, when he was breathless walking up the stairs. “It changed my life, and I wanted to do something to help others,” he said.

Those “others” include couch-potatoes who have lost weight, taken part in competitive races and even trained as coaches themselves. Some run for fun, or for the social side of running. “We wanted to prove that running is for anyone, even if they have never run before.”

He and Glyn Rose, another “convert”,  have since taken part in the Great Manchester 10k, Great North Run, London Marathon, New York Marathon, and Lakeland 50. Wayne has also competed in the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert.

Their aim was to encourage newcomers to achieve 5k with encouragement, with one training session a week and two other runs. “The plan was then to let them loose in the wild, as we put it, as there are so many running clubs in the region” said Glyn. “But we found that our members wanted motivation to do more, so that’s why we introduced programmes to extend their distances.”

Jogging Pals pay £45 for an eight-week programme, and members are encouraged to join up together to run at other times. “One of the keys to our success is enabling people to ‘pal up’ as the weeks go by, to train with other people who may live close by, and to make friends,” said Glyn. “The social aspect of jogging is massively important to us, and we make a lot of friends through this. But we also acknowledge that for some people, we are improving their health and fitness, and even saving their lives.”

Their website (  carries testimonials from newcomers, often seriously overweight, who have benefited from the programme, and have carried on running.

One wrote: “In the final night of the course I jogged without stopping once for the full 5k and I was elated. By the end I’d realised I’m a tortoise. I’m slow but steady and I get there in the end.” He now has an entry for the Great North Run.

The annual Cumbria Sports Awards will be held on Friday at The Low Wood Bay Hotel, Windermere. The event recognises the outstanding talents, commitment and successes of teams and individuals throughout Cumbria who are involved in sport.


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Mathilde, and the Nordic influence in Grasmere

Where art lovers and fellwalkers and foodies come together now is an exercise in serenity and style. Mathilde’s, the café which opened this summer in Grasmere is quietly and elegantly proving to be the place to meet and linger. In summer on the long slate-paved terrace, or inside the light-flooded room with a window onto the fells – prominently Stone Arthur –where even the light shades are works of art and a glass door leads to exciting exhibition space.

view from mathildes

Now, in winter, the Nordic influence of this new addition to the Heaton Cooper Studio, is adding a cosy and subtly festive air. Cinnamon rolls are served, alongside Carvetii coffee, pumpkin spiced Nordic waffles, on Scandinavian artisan crockery. What you WON’T get at Mathilde’s is piped-music Jingle Bells.

The café is the vision of the Heaton Cooper Studio director Becky Heaton Cooper who is great granddaughter of Mathilde, and also an artist and designer as well as businesswoman. Becky brought in Head Chef Rob McGill and Manager Nicola Tickle who then recruited a team of fine bakers and baristas. Together they have developed an exciting, seasonal menu with a subtle Scandinavian influence. Salads of gravadlax or beetroot, lingonberries and dill; breakfasts of wild mushrooms on sourdough toast with poached eggs currently grace the plates of diners.

Mathilde was the young country girl from Norway who fell in love with an English painter and together they founded a dynasty of great landscape artists. Naming the café after her is a fitting tribute to the woman who played a quietly supportive role in the life of Alfred Heaton Cooper, and gave birth to their son, William. The father and son became known as the most famous of the English landscape artists of their respective generations. Her grandson, Julian Cooper, is now Britain’s foremost painter of mountain scenes and it’s his exhibition that was on show in the adjoining Archive Gallery all summer.

Mathilde’s was not an easy life. She arrived in the country with her young husband speaking no English. (They landed at Newcastle on November 5th, and hearing all the fireworks, and seeing light from bonfires, Mathilde asked Alfred if this was a special reception to welcome her.) Alfred was a struggling artist, and they moved around the Lakes from one home to another. They had four children, and Mathilde ran the home and devoted her life to their care. But they were a happy and loving family, occasionally returning to Norway for long holidays where Alfred loved to paint.

Now in the gallery founded by the Heaton Coopers, a new generation of artists is keeping alive their spirit. The latest is a young painter offering a new perspective on the landscape, Stefan Orlowski, whose current show opened as the now-traditional Grasmere curtain raiser for the Kendal Mountain Festival. It’s called Land Lives, and it is curated by Julian Cooper whose Full Circle exhibition has just ended.

Developing the gallery and opening the café has been a labour of love for Becky Heaton Cooper. “Mathilde was the love of Alfred’s life,” she says. “It really was a love match. Alfred was the centre of her world, and we think it’s wonderful to have her name here now at the centre of our new expansion.”

Mathilde’s is open daily from 9.30am until 4.30pm. Breakfast is served till 11.30.


Another award for Ashley as climate change campaign gathers force

Campaigning photographer Ashley Cooper has won an international award for his work on the impact of climate change.

Ashley, from Ambleside, was presented with the Green Apple award for Environmental Best Practice at a ceremony at the House of Commons, in the media and marketing category.

His book, Images from a Warming Planet, is already shaking the political establishment and a plan is under way to send a copy to every world leader. The book documents his 13 year journey photographing the devastating impacts of climate change on every continent around the world.

The Green Apple Awards were The Green Organisation’s first initiative when it launched in 1994, and they have gone from strength to strength ever since. The Green Organisation is an international, independent, non-profit, non-political, non-activist environment group, dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

Initially aimed only at local authorities, the organisers were soon asked to set up a similar scheme for commerce and industry.  Then there was growing interest from overseas, so all of these sectors are now a permanent fixture on the calendar with a presentation ceremony every November in the House of Commons.

The aims are to improve environmental performance, encourage the efficient use of resources, enhance the competitiveness of organisations, and support the wider goals of sustainable development.

Ashley’s book, which appeared in print last year, had a national launch in London recently sponsored by Impact, the multi-award winning global leadership action company.

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He is pictured receiving his award from Michael Cook of The Green Organisation

Climate change campaign targets the PM

Prince Charles and the Prime Minister will this week receive copies of an extraordinary book as a campaign to tackle climate change gathers momentum.

Images from a Warming Planet, by photographer Ashley Cooper, documents the impact of climate change on every continent. At a national launch this week at the Royal Geographical Society, business leaders and academics committed their support. And when each guest was given a copy of the book, pledges were made to pass them on to influential friends and colleagues.

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“One guest told me, I’m meeting Prince Charles tomorrow, I’m going to donate my copy of your book to him,” said Mr Cooper at the end of the event hosted by global business development experts Impact International. “Others were meeting Theresa May and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, and Virgin boss Richard Branson, and offered to do the same. I am left feeling humbled and empowered in equal measure and with a real sense of hope and optimism for the future.”

At the launch, compered by explorer, TV presenter and Vice President of the RGS Paul Rose, guests were told by Impact’s founder and CEO David Williams: “We believe that business should be a force for good.”

They heard from environmental campaigner Jonathan Porritt who said: “It is the world’s poorest who are suffering the most from our changing climate. How dare anybody be dispassionate about what’s going on in the world right now?”

In the audience were representatives from 80 leading business organisations and institutions, including senior staff from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BP, Body Shop, HSBC, Prudential, Rolex, World Pay, and the Confederation of British Industry.

Mr Cooper, from Ambleside in Cumbria, took the audience on a whirlwind tour of his 13 year journey around the world photographing evidence of “the greatest threat humanity faces”. Pictures included forest fires, floods, deforestation, glacial melt and the impacts of industrial and commercial excess.

But there were also images of hope. “You might think this would be an evening of doom and gloom, but there was so much positivity in the room. We have the knowhow, we can fix this problem, but we need to move fast, ditching fossil fuels and embracing renewables,” Mr Cooper said.

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Images on display at the RGS

Safety session for burns awareness

A safety-at-home session is being staged in Ambleside on National Burns Awareness Day by a paramedic who suffered serious burns as a toddler.

Nick Wright, the director of MedSkills Academy, will host the drop-in session at Ambleside’s Parish Centre on Wednesday (Oct 18) from 3.30 till 4.30. It’s hoped that the event will appeal especially to families with young children.

Nick was left with scarring over his shoulder following an accident at home, involving a hot drink, when he was a child.  “Although scarring is now minimal, I appreciate the long-lasting effect such an injury can have,” he said.

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Nick Wright

The National Burns Awareness Day gives Nick and his staff an opportunity to pass on expert knowledge regarding prevention and first aid treatment to the local and national community.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the shocking number of people burned each day in the UK.  We also want to promote, good, effective first aid for burns to as many people as we can and at the same time fundraise for The Children’s Burns Trust.”

The MedSkills Academy drop-in session is for anyone who wants to find out more about making their homes safer, learn how to provide first aid to burns and an opportunity to ask questions to a healthcare expert.

Nick said: “I have staff who will be providing similar awareness raising sessions across the UK to members of the public and healthcare professionals alike.  We’ve also set up a Just Giving page to raise money for The Children’s Burns Trust”.

To find out more contact MedSkills Academy on 0800 612 5123.  To make a donation to the Children’s Burns Trust visit –

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