From left: Bill Whitehouse, MREW fundraising officer, Traci Corrie, Mike France and Lee Bagnall, managing director of the Blacks Outdoor Group

From left: Bill Whitehouse, MREW fundraising officer, Traci Corrie, Mike France and Lee Bagnall, managing director of the Blacks Outdoor Group

Mountain rescuers in England and Wales are celebrating after bagging more than £200,000 from a charity linked to major outdoor retailers.

The JD Foundation has also agreed to help fund the umbrella body for rescuers for the next three years.

The unexpected cash boost has come from the carrier bag charge scheme in JD Sports Fashion stores, which include Blacks, Millets, Tiso and Ultimate Outdoors.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales received an initial donation of £218,000 from the charity, and expects to pick up regular quarterly sums of about £45,000, depending on carrier bag scheme receipts. MREW said this is likely to boost the organisations funds by about £180,000 over the next three years, bringing in a total of about £¾m.

JD Foundation chair Traci Corrie handed over the first instalment to representatives at MREW’s annual meeting in Preston, Lancashire, on Saturday.

The organisation’s chairman Mike France said: “We spend a lot of time asking people to help us with our work, so for someone to come to us and offer support out of the blue is overwhelming and very much appreciated.

“To receive a cheque for a few thousand means we can sometimes make changes; to receive a cheque for this value is a game changer and is going to give us the means to look at our long-term strategy.

“This donation will allow our highly trained mountain rescue members to do what they are trained for – attending rescues – instead of spending so much of their time fundraising. We are absolutely delighted.”

Ms Corrie said: “Mountain rescue is a vital commodity but, as a non-profit organisation, it is reliant on the generosity and support of the public to maintain its valuable community service.

“That’s why we chose them as our environmental charity and we are delighted to be able to give our support and help them with their long term planning.”

[Window Title] Creative Cloud  [Main Instruction] Creative Cloud has stopped working  [Content] Windows is checking for a solution to the problem...  [Cancel]In addition to the funding from the JD Foundation, Blacks, part of the outdoor division of JD Sports Fashion, which also includes Millets and Ultimate Outdoors, will be working with Mountain Rescue England and Wales on a number of projects over the next three years.

“We’ll be looking at designing specialist clothing together, featuring the MREW logo and information in stores and developing a longer-term strategy so that some of this generous support is invested in creating a more sustainable fundraising base for the future,” Mr France said.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales is the co-ordinating body for volunteer mountain search and rescue teams in England and Wales. It is a registered charity comprising members of mountain rescue teams and regions and representatives from cave rescue. There are nine mountain rescue regions and 48 teams. All these organisations are independent charities, made up entirely by volunteers.

Last October the UK Government introduced the law requiring large retailers in England to charge 5p to customers for single-use carrier bags. Companies can choose hat to do with the cash collected, but the Government said it expected firms to donate proceeds of the scheme to good causes.

Similar 5p schemes already operated in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

JD Sports Fashion is 57 per cent owned by the Pentland Group, which also owns the Berghaus brand.

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