A west Cumbrian charity, which has benefited from a million in lottery funding, has thanked the organisation on its milestone birthday.

The National Lottery turns 25 next month, and among those to benefit from its charitable donations is the West Cumbria Society of the Blind.

Marie Scott, chair of the charity, which is based on Lowther Street in Whitehaven, says they would not exist today if it was not for the support of the Big Lottery Fund.

The society has received a million pounds from the fund over the last 25 years.

“We were one of the first to get funding,” she said.

“It was so easy then. I just filled a form in and we got quarter of a million.

“Because of that money we were able to buy this building. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the lottery funding.”

The society has continued to grow since it was set up in 1990 and now has 1,200 people on its books. Its services are much-needed, with around 7,500 visually impaired people in West Cumbria.

Marie said: “We are getting more and more people every day. If we weren’t here there would be nowhere else for them to get help.”

Marie volunteers for the charity full time and helps with a range of activities the society provides. She carries out secretarial duties and runs social groups groups in

Cockermouth, Maryport, Workington and Whitehaven.

She got involved with the charity when she retired after working as a secretary at Sellafield for 12 years. In 1993 she decided she needed to make use of her time and attended an exhibition of voluntary agencies in Whitehaven.

She came out with four jobs, but stayed with the Society for the Blind, and a small office was rented. The following year, the organisation applied to the National Lottery for funding to buy a building, which was unsuccessful.

A second attempt was made by Marie and the bid was successful. The charity has been based on Lowther Street in Whitehaven, ever since.

The society provides services to people across Copeland and Allerdale. This includes enabling people to meet other people and receive support. It also helps to prevent isolation and loneliness.

A range of services are funded by the Big Lottery Fund.These include a resource centre which stocks specialist living equipment and safety equipment; a home support service for people who are housebound; a telephone befriending service as well as social groups and outings.