Pat's plea as she prepares for royal honour for MENCAP fundraising

Charity fundraiser Pat Ascroft with a selection of hats collected on her expeditions
Charity fundraiser Pat Ascroft with a selection of hats collected on her expeditions

Garstang’s top charity campaigner Pat Ascroft has urged people to remember the ongoing needs of the older person with learning disabilities.

Pat has raised their plight just days before she is due to receive a prestigious royal honour.

Pat Ascroft on expedition

Pat Ascroft on expedition

On October 11 she will be at Lancaster Castle where the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire Lord Shuttleworth will present her with a BEM making her a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire.

Pat’s award, announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, was “for services to fundraising and the community in Garstang.”

The record-breaking fundraiser has always led by example, taking part in numerous charity challenges over the past 25 years.

She said: “The challenges I’ve accepted and done are nothing like the challenges faced by people with learning difficulties and their families.

Pat Ascroft

Pat Ascroft

“What I’ve noticed in the 25 years is people with learning difficulties are living longer and living into old age and the challenges for them are great because parents have died or siblings have died.”

Pat will be among seven Lancastrians receiving their award, which recognises an achievement or contribution of a service to the community in a local area.

She said: “I feel honoured and very humbled by it. It’s made me aware how many people have helped me to do what I’ve done over 25 years, which has made me the top (individual) fundraiser in the country for MENCAP.

”The Royal MENCAP society helps people with learning disabilities and their carers. Over the years Pat reckons to have raised around £70,000 with tasks such as climbing and walking expeditions in the Japanese Alps, China, Peru, Patagonia and Cuba. Five years ago she went dog sledding in Lapland.

Pat, 82, says one of the greatest things that has happened recently is that her children and grandchildren have also taken up fundraising challenges for MENCAP:“To me the best thing that’s come out of it is that I’ve passed this baton on to the grandchildren which is wonderful.”

But Pat, who gives many talks to raise funds for the charity, has no intention of scaling down her efforts. She said: “I’m not backing off at all. In fact a week last Saturday I came back from a week driving and living in a horse drawn caravan in Southern Ireland.”

The other local recipients of the BEM are: Alison Suffield from New Longton for services to policing; Heather Unwin from Kirkham for services to the community in Preston; Karen Macaulay from Clitheroe for voluntary service to Lancashire Constabulary; Rebecca Ramsay from Chorley for services to the prevention of water related accidents; Erica Sarney from Lancaster for services to wildflower and pollinator conservation in Lancashire and County Coun Munsif Dad from Accrington for political service;