CONGRATULATIONS! Cockermouth Emergency Response Group (CERG)

The volunteer-led Cockermouth Emergency Response Group has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK – the MBE for voluntary groups.

CERG assists residents and businesses in the Cockermouth area to prepare for and recover from major emergencies. The group works in partnership with other local voluntary organisations and statutory bodies, engaging volunteers and other resources to provide assistance during and in the aftermath of an emergency.

Just 244 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups received this prestigious award this year. The number of nominations continues to increase year on year, demonstrating that the voluntary sector is thriving, and that groups are full of innovative ideas to improve the lives of those in their communities.

Cockermouth Emergency Response Group will receive a certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen and a crystal glass trophy which will be presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman. Two volunteers from the group will be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2023, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

The QAVS is awarded annually to recognise and reward the most exceptional groups who provide volunteer-led activities carried out by local groups and providing significant benefit to their communities. It is a highly competitive and prestigious award and only about half of the nominations can expect to succeed. The award was originally established 20 years ago as part of the celebrations for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and was first known as The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award.

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mrs Claire Hensman said: “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest accolade that any voluntary organisation can achieve and I am delighted that Cockermouth Emergency Response Group has achieved this impressive level of national recognition. I congratulate them, and thank the group for their tireless work and commitment to the community they serve.

Chairman Brian Mitchelhill, one of the original founders of CERG, says “This is a wonderful accolade for the work our volunteers have done over the years – and continue to do to ensure our gem town is as resilient as possible during any crisis. It is richly deserved, and I am extremely proud to be associated with such a brilliant group of volunteers.”

Cartmell Shepherd backs Cockermouth’s charity weekend

Claire Wilson

Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors are supporting Cockermouth’s Charity Fundraising Weekend where businesses across the town will be raising money for good causes on Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23.

The West Cumbria team, which is based in the legal firm’s Main Street office, is organising a Cumbrian-themed raffle, with proceeds from the draw going to their chosen charity, Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

All the prizes up for grabs in the raffle will be sourced from local businesses in and around Cockermouth including restaurant vouchers and hampers filled with locally-sourced food and drink. Tickets will be available to buy from the Cartmell Shepherd office at 4 Main Street, Cockermouth, from early July.

The legal firm is a long-standing supporter of Hospice at Home West Cumbria, holding fundraising events and driving awareness through being actively involved in the charity, which provides palliative and end of life care.

Associate Solicitor, Claire Wilson, who leads the Cockermouth office, is a trustee of the Hospice at Home West Cumbria and is running the Great North Run in aid for the charity for a third time this September. She will be joined in the half-marathon by colleague Holly Moxon, who is also raising money for Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

Claire said: “As a business, we are committed to being part of the communities in which we live and work, and are actively encouraged to do our bit to support local charities and organisations. “Hospice at Home West Cumbria does incredible work in our community, and it’s important that we show our support in any way we can.”

Cartmell Shepherd is a sponsor of Cockermouth’s Taste Cumbria event on September 24 and 25, and also supports the Cockermouth Emergency Response Group, which works in partnership with local authorities and other organisations to plan for and respond to emergencies. Last year, the legal firm sponsored a magazine created by Cockermouth artist Emily Bailey to showcase the hand-crafted puppets of well-known people in the town which were displayed in shop windows to promote local businesses.

Tel: 01900 876123

Recipe: Queen Elizabeth Cake, courtesy of Manon Plouffe at Wild Zucchinis, Main Street

1 cup chopped dates
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1.5 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
64g soft butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg


5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons double cream
¾ cup desiccated coconut


Put dates, baking soda and vanilla essence in the boiling water and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, put your dry ingredients, butter and egg and then add your date mixture. Whizz all together and pour in a round or square 20cm baking tin.

Bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes or when you push a cocktail stick into the cake, it comes out dry.

In the meantime put your topping ingredients a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring it all together. Take off the heat.

Once your cake is baked pour the topping mixture on it and put back in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown.