The Zhoosh! Brighton Blog
The first time I met the Bear Patrol was in the studio of the Brighton LGBT radio show ‘Out In Brighton’. They were to be interviewed about their latest activities and five members arrived like a whirlwind full of laughter, high spirits and energy. You couldn’t help but get sucked in by it and within minutes the whole studio was in a joyful ruckus.
“You guys are so much fun”, I commented as my time to leave came.
Danny Dwyer, creator and co-ordinator of the Bear-Patrol group responded, “That’s what we’re all about. Having fun and enjoying ourselves”, which they seem able to maintain, as a couple of years on from that first contact they still seem to be laughing and having fun.
The Bear Patrol was created in September 2008 in order to ‘bring people together and become part of a community social group, thus enabling them to meet friends and new faces in a happy environment free from attitude and stigma. In the process of socialising, having fun & enjoying life, Bear-Patrol members, friends & followers are utilising their social skills, contacts & enthusiasm to raise funds for ‘The Sussex Beacon‘, a Brighton based clinical care centre for men and women living with HIV/AIDS’
The last time I asked Danny how much the group had raised, it was in excess of £30,000. Prior to Christmas they were holding ‘Bring & Buy’ sales and Saturday arts and crafts activities from painting skulls to making your own Christmas tree decorations. What people may not realise is that the Bear-Patrol is not just for ‘Bears’. ‘Beavers’ (girls who hang out with Bears) are welcome as are ‘Otters’ (non-Bear men) – all are welcome.
This year the Bear Patrol already has events in planning. February 17th will see 22 ‘Bear-Patrol’ runners taking part in the Brighton Half Marathon, including me (front row – 3rd from the right).
Team Runners are: Danny Dwyer, Adam Betteridge, Jonathan Terry, Ian Chaplin, Mark Flood, Shaun Roe, Paul Brown, Robert Taylor, Jason Bramwell, Nicolas Collins, Susan Luxford, Colin Bentley, Martin Still, Margot Uden, Robert Sz, Antonio DaVinci, Lawrence Simpson, PJ Hopper, Ant Pay, Deborah Wolf, David Wilkes & Fiona Coad-Window.
… and for those not running, they are providing volunteer time to help out on the day of the half-marathon
The Bear-Patrol are also putting a team together for the annual LGBT community BLAGSS Bowling Extravaganza on the 26th February and they are inviting people to take part in their annual Bear-Patrol Sky Dive which will take place on 6th July.
Full details about the Bear-Patrol group can be found on Zhoosh with contact details and social media pages: http://directory.zhooshbrighton.co.uk/entry/bear-patrol-community-social-fundraising-group/
If you would like to make a donation to the Bear Patrol Brighton Half Marathon Runners with your donation going to the Sussex Beacon you can do so at:
All pennies and pounds appreciated by runners, Bear-Patrol and Sussex Beacon alike
and of course Come and cheer us on on February 17th!