A charity which helps people with disabilities take part in sport has received a £4,500 donation from a group of Norfolk Freemasons
Members of the Wroxham-based Boileau Lodge No. 6862 have completed a triathlon to raise funds for WheelPower, which offers opportunities for disabled people to get active.
As part of the celebrations to mark the United Grand Lodge of England's 300th anniversary, Lodge Charity Steward W Bro Robin Rush cycled 300km in Norfolk whilst Worshipful Master Steve Kemp ran 20km and his wife Michelle completed a 3km swim, one for each century.
Chris Rattenbury, an ambassador for WheelPower, the national charity for wheelchair sport, said: 'I was delighted to receive the cheque and meet those who have made this very generous donation possible. The money will go towards a second Primary Sports Camp to be held in Norfolk. The first, held in 2016, introduced 69 children to cricket, wheelchair basketball, boccia, table games and golf.'
W Bro Robin Rush, who is 76 years old but still very active, commented: 'There are so many youngsters with disabilities wanting to join in with activities, so this has been my charity focus in our Tercentenary year.'
W Bro Steve Kemp, who is also a keen sportsman, added: 'I have been involved with WheelPower helping to organise events and have seen how much support is given to help people with disabilities participate in sport. Robin and I have experienced so much pleasure from sport and wanted to help others do the same.'
Almost all of Norfolk’s 76 lodges had joined in fundraising activities following a call from Provincial Grand Master Stephen Allen to give extra support to local charities during the Tercentenary year.
Members of the public had a behind the scenes look inside Wroxham Masonic Centre, as Norfolk Freemasons opened their doors
Over 100 visitors filled the temple and had the opportunity to see a demonstration by the Norfolk Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No. 9266 and a talk by senior Norfolk Freemason Stewart Middleton.
Mysteries were dispelled with Lodge Officers explaining their roles and questions answered about the different regalia worn and the formation of Freemasonry 300 years ago to its relevance today.
The work of Freemasons in the community was also highlighted with donations totalling £5,500 presented to local charities. These included £1,060 to Home Start, £1,000 to the James Paget Hospital Stroke Unit plus £500 each to Norfolk & Norwich Association of the Blind, Priscilla Bacon Lodge, 1st Mattishall Scouts, Allstars Community Complex, Cromer Community & Hospital Friends, Hoveton Wherrymen Football Club and Norfolk Family Mediation.
Fred Bruce, organiser and member of Boileau Lodge No. 6862, commented: ‘We play our part in the local community and we welcomed so many members of the public who wanted to find out about Freemasonry in Wroxham. A lot of people didn’t realise 10 lodges meet here and were impressed by the amount of information available.'
Martin Russell, of Norfolk Broads Lodge No. 8368, said: ‘We are celebrating our Tercentenary this year with events and open days all over the county. Charity is a big part of Freemasonry and we invite those receiving donations to come along and tell us how the money will be spent. The donation to Home Start was raised at our Ladies Night by a raffle, auction and donations from members.’
Richard Pryor, a member of Maid’s Head Lodge No. 8558, added: ‘Some of the charities here today are small and not very well known, so our donations are appreciated and really make a difference.’
Jeannette Wright, whose husband Michael is also a member of Norfolk Broads Lodge, said: ‘It was interesting to see what happens at lodge meetings, which sound strange until I saw the demonstration and talk today.’
Robin was the oldest among a group of 20 completing the course, and his grandchildren were able to follow his progress online as he had
a tracker attached to his bike. A former Master of Boileau Lodge, No. 6862, Robin raised more than £7,000. He is used to gruelling challenges, being a long-distance runner, and normally takes part in an endurance race at least once a year for charity.