Somerset Freemasons running the London Marathon for the Royal Osteoporosis Society

Two Somerset Freemasons are taking part in the London Marathon on April 21 in aid of the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS).

Mike Norton (with his wife), and Stephen Barker (with his daughter), decided to raise money for ROS, the UK’s largest national charity dedicated to improving bone health and beating osteoporosis. Mike has decided to do this after his Aunt was Diagnosed with the condition and Stephen is a keen fund raiser having completed the Rowing Machine Challenge.

Osteoporosis causes bones to lose strength and break more easily, and is known as the silent disease due to the vast scale of under-diagnosis and low public awareness. Approximately 3.5 million people in the UK are estimated to have osteoporosis, with half of women and one in five men expected to develop the condition. Osteoporosis causes half a million broken bones every year in the UK, costing the NHS over £4.5 billion. 

Mike, from Langport, Somerset, is a veteran runner and will be marking his 65th marathon as he crosses the iconic finish line outside Buckingham Palace. His wife Kate will also be joining him after securing a place via the ballot at their running club, Langport Runners, and the pair have been training together ahead of the event.

The Somerset Freemasons are no strangers to supporting the ROS, having awarded a £50,000 grant last year through the Masonic Charitable Foundation. These funds have gone towards supporting the charity’s network of Volunteer Support Groups throughout England and Wales, which offer regional assistance to those in need.

Mike said:

“Both my aunt and a close friend from my running club have osteoporosis, so it’s a cause very close to my heart. Being a veteran marathon runner, I already do a fair few miles, but I also started a training plan with my wife at the start of the year. I’ve had a couple of bouts of illness during the training period but battled on as best as I could.

“As a proud Somerset Freemason I was aware that the Province have already supported ROS for some time, and the opportunity came up for a potential place at the London Marathon which I was grateful to accept. I hope that my fundraising efforts will help to support with those living with the condition and their families.”

Karlie Evans, Fundraising Events Manager from the ROS, said:

“We’re so grateful to Mike for his incredible fundraising efforts and dedication to his marathon training. We’re delighted that he chose to mark his 65th marathon by running for the ROS, and wish both him and Kate the very best of luck for the day.”

To support Mike please his fund raising page here

To Support Stephen please visit his fundraising Page here

About the ROS

We’re the Royal Osteoporosis Society – the UK’s largest national charity dedicated to improving bone health and beating osteoporosis. And we’re here for everyone. We equip people with practical information and support to take action on their bone health.

Working with healthcare professionals and policy-makers, we’re influencing and shaping policy and practice at every level. We’re driving the research and development of new treatments, to beat osteoporosis together.

Key facts about osteoporosis 

  • Osteoporosis causes bones to lose strength and break more easily (also known as fractures). 
  • 3.5 million people in the UK are estimated to have osteoporosis in the UK.
  • Osteoporosis causes 500,000 broken bones every year in the UK, costing over £4.5 billion. 
  • Broken bones caused by osteoporosis can be painful, impact on daily life, reduce independence, and sometimes lead to life-changing disability. 
  • Half of women and 20% of men over 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. 
  • We reach our peak bone health at the age of 30 and it begins to naturally decline as we get older, especially for women around the menopause. Osteoporosis and broken bones are not an inevitable part of ageing, however. 
  • Bone health is important throughout life. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet with adequate calcium, and ensuring you’re getting enough vitamin D, everyone can support their bones as they get older. 

Additional notes: 

  • A well-balanced diet with adequate calcium is important to give bones all the nutrients they need. 
  • Getting enough vitamin D from the sun, topped up with an extra 10 micrograms (400IU) daily from food or supplements – especially in the winter months – is also key for good bone health. 
  • Maintaining regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise is great for bone health at any age. 
  • Those with osteoporosis are encouraged to exercise regularly to maintain their bone health, improve balance and reduce their risk of fractures. 

About the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief.  In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports freemasons and their families with financial, health, or care-related needs. Visit

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