A GROUP of Lake District afficionados have been using the power of social media to raise funds for a 'vital' mountain rescue team.

Members of the Facebook page 'I love the Lake District' have created badges so its 80,000 members can recognise each other on the mountains and fells and share stories with people they have only previously encountered on the internet.

Rather than accept a profit from their friend-finding scheme, members decided money raised from each of the 400 badges sold so far would be donated to Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team (LAMRT). A cheque for £720 has already been handed over.

The idea originally came when two members met and recognised each other from the Facebook page, and the group decided to come up with a way to make it easier to spot themselves while out and about.

Group member Kathleen Bland, originally from Barrow but who now lives in Darlington, said it was a great way to bring like-minded people together while supporting a worthy cause.

"None of us knew each other – we're all from different places – but we've just come together to raise some money," she said.

"A lot of people knock Facebook but when you get something like this that does some good, it's great.

"Mountain rescuers are so important and there's so much variety to what they do. They could be called to someone who needs a defibrillator, a broken leg, or someone who's just wandered off.

"What's amazing is they're all volunteers. The government doesn't pay for them so the money has to come from somewhere. Our £720 isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things but every little helps."

LAMRT team leader Nick Owen said: "We are entirely funded by donations so they're all very much appreciated.

"They're our sole means of funding and they're absolutely vital to us so I would just say a big thank you to the members of the group."