Chris and Jeni, the parents of River Wardley from Littleborough, who suffers from a life-threatening genetic condition, were delighted when East Lancashire Freemasons came to their rescue with a grant of £2,295

The Rochdale district team helped the family secure a desperately needed new home that is much better suited to their son’s River and Ocean and daughter Roxi-Blue.

River suffers from the extremely rare mutation on his CNK SR2 gene, which causes seizures, and intellectual attention and language deficits. He also has central and obstructive Sleep Apnoea, Hypermobility Syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, ADHD and uncontrolled Epilepsy.

Rochdale District Chairman Doug Smith said: ‘When we heard about River, we wanted to do something positive.’

As a result, they secured a substantial grant from the East Lancashire Masonic Charity (ELMC) of £2,295 enabling the family to move River's specialist equipment and assist with prohibitive upfront rent costs, meaning the family can now move to a new home in Milnrow where their quality of life will be greatly improved.

District Charity Steward John Taylor added: ‘We really do like to help those in need and it is clear just how much this means to the whole family.’

Chris, Jenni, Roxi-Blue, River and Ocean can’t wait to make the move, and thanked East Lancashire Freemasons for their help and support.

Parents who need to provide their seriously ill children with round-the-clock care will be able to take a much-needed rest thanks to a £7,600 grant from East Lancashire Freemasons

The grant to Lagan's Foundation will help provide trained carers to offer parents of children with severe heart and feeding issues some vital support and respite. Lagan's will use the money to recruit and train new carers so that more families can benefit from the breaks that the charity offers.

Caring for a seriously ill child over an extended period can take a major toll not just on the health of the parents, but also on their relationship. Being able to take a break allows them to get some desperately-needed rest and spend time with each other and with siblings, who inevitably lose out in terms of parental attention.

Lagan’s Foundation was founded by Bolton-based Carren Bell after she lost her baby daughter Lagan from a heart defect in 2011. The charity now operates nationally. As well as giving parents a break, the Foundation gives parents and guardians the necessary support and information, offers bereavement help when necessary and campaigns to increase awareness of the use of breast milk donation and usage.

The grant from East Lancashire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Carren Bell, Chief Executive of Lagan's Foundation, said: ‘Local authorities, health services and most importantly families and their children, are reliant upon our expertise and the dedication of our carers. This donation will improve the lives of people at their most difficult time and we and they are immensely grateful for it.”

Steve Clark, East Lancashire Charity Steward, added: ‘I’m very pleased we’ve been able to support Lagan’s Foundation. They provide invaluable help and support to parents who often give up everything to help their children and who benefit enormously from the chance to re-charge their batteries.’

East Lancashire Freemasons visited Bolton Sea Cadets to present them with cheques totalling £1,000 from two Bolton lodges and the Bolton & Farnworth 100 Club on 17th July 2019

The sea cadets have more than doubled their numbers to 50 in the last 18 months, but unlike other cadet forces, Sea Cadets are not centrally funded so rely on fundraising and donations to – literally – keep afloat.

The money was donated by East Lancashire's Bolton District via their lodges, chapters and the 100 Club and will go towards providing the boys and girls from the surrounding relatively deprived areas with experiences and courses such as sailing and rowing that will set them up as they grow older.

As a former Bolton Sea Cadet himself, District Chairman Terry Kakoullis encouraged the assembled cadets to keep going and learn from their experiences.

The team also took the opportunity to have a look at the classroom that was refurbished via a £3,000 grant from Bolton District in the 2017 UGLE Tercentenary year.

Donations this time have come from Anchor and Hope Lodge No. 37, Goulburn Menturia Lodge No. 3478 and the 100 Club. Earlier in the year there were donations from St George's Chapter No. 1723 and St John's Lodge No. 348, totalling £1,750 for the year so far.

East Lancashire Freemasons have donated £2,500 to the Bury Scout Group to help with vital work needed to upgrade their Scout Hut

The Scout Group approached the East Lancashire Masonic Charity (ELMC) to ask for help in funding the work and the ELMC were happy to contribute £2,500 to the total cost of about £7,500 of developing the toilet facilities.

The donation by the ELMC has kick started the funding for the remainder of the work, and the majority of the funding for the work to the toilets has now been secured. The work will be carried out in August 2019 when the Scout Hut is not in use.

Work needs to be done to bring the toilets and cloak room to modern standards including accessible toilets and widening of doors to accommodate a wheelchair. It was realised that there were several thousand pounds worth of development needed to bring that area to the right standards. This includes moving walls, resurfacing the flooring in the toilet area and re-designing the toilets from what, at one time, was a 'boys' organisation, to one where there are as many girls who involved in scouting as there are boys.  

The ROBOT (Rector of Bury’s Own Troop) Scout Group which is based at Bury Parish Church was founded almost one hundred years ago in 1924 and it has been one of the largest and most prominent scout groups in the area. This is in no small part due to its location adjacent to the Parish Church in the centre of Bury. The youth membership is drawn from a wide range of areas from across the borough when compared with other groups in the Borough, and it is blessed that the young people also represent a diverse range of economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. 

Scouting is the UK’s biggest mixed youth organisation. Its volunteers change lives by offering 6 to 25 years old (5½ to 14½ year olds at 44th Bury plus an ‘Explorer’ group for older teenagers and young adults) a mix of fun and challenging activities, unique experiences, every day adventure and the chance to help others so that they make a positive impact in our communities. There are groups for both boys and girls throughout the age ranges, and the Scout Hut is in use every day from Monday to Saturday and one Sunday every month.  It is used every week by one hundred young people.

The formal handover of the cheque took place on 9th June 2019 during the main service at the Parish Church with Steve Clark, the Provincial Charity Steward, handing over the cheque to some of the youngsters who will benefit from the work.

Bury Freemasons, the East Lancashire Masonic Charity and the Masonic Charitable Foundation have come together to support Grace’s Place – a children’s hospice located in Radcliffe – with a grant of £5,000 to fund a cuddle cot and special cuddle blanket

This will helps families who have just lost a young child to spend precious hours, even days, together during the grieving process, taking after life care to another level.

The presentation was made by Chris Eccles, the Bury District Charity Steward, accompanied by the Provincial Grand Charity Steward Steve Clark. The Hospice has fantastic facilities to make this very difficult time for children and families as pleasant as possible.

With the final pieces of equipment now in place, the Hospice is proud to announce it has now opened its doors.

A spokesperson from Grace's Place said: ‘Over the last year the building has been transformed to make sure families feel comfortable here – we’ve got children’s and family bedrooms, a toy-filled play area and space for mums and dads to relax.

‘We’ve also got a state-of-the-art sensory room – fantastic for children to develop their motor and communication skills – or just to chill out in. And a Snowflake Room, a private and peaceful room where bereaved families can spend time together and say their last goodbyes.’

East Lancashire Freemasons have presented Burnley Football Club with a grant of £19,200 to help support their ‘Kicks’ programme

At the end of 2018, Burnley Football Club made a successful application to the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which came through East Lancashire Freemasons, for the grant. This was presented to the during half time at their home game against Cardiff City on 13th April 2019 by East Lancashire's Deputy Provincial Grand Master John Farrington and Provincial Grand Charity Steward Steve Clarke.

Kicks is one of Burnley FC’s flagship community programmes, part of BFCitC, and is designed to engage young people 11-19 who are at risk of being involved in anti-social behaviour and crime. It organises activities in a number of venues and these are predominantly football-based.

The grant will enable Burnley FC to introduce new sports such as cricket, dance and boxercise which it is hoped will also engage more girls.

East Lancashire Freemasons have supported Thomasson Memorial School with a £4,000 donation towards installing new carpets and stairs. As the pupils are deaf or hearing impaired, carpets are imperative to help in reducing echoes and reverberations within the school

Steve Clark, East Lancashire’s Provincial Grand Charity Steward, was delighted to accept an invitation from their Headteacher Lisa Lane to visit the school on 1st March where he was given a fantastic reception from the children.

Lisa had submitted a grant application to East Lancashire Masonic Charity to assist in buying new carpets for the halls and stairs within the school, which have now been installed.

Thomasson Memorial is a day school in Bolton for deaf children aged 4-16 and a nursery for hearing and deaf children age 2-4. It provides a caring, secure and supportive environment in which all children are respected and encouraged to develop their full potential.

The school was founded after Mr Thomasson, a local businessman who was hearing impaired, bequeathed money to provide a school for deaf children. Thomasson Memorial are one of a only a handful of schools for deaf children and have students from across the whole North West of the country.

East Lancashire Freemasons have donated £5,000 to the social mobility charity Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB), which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)

On behalf of the MCF, East Lancashire Provincial Grand Charity Steward Steve Clark was delighted to attend a ‘speed interview’ session of the LTSB, which involved a dozen young people and business professionals. The space, and several interviewers, was kindly provided by Mazars in central Manchester.

These intelligent young people are at risk of becoming so-called NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training). With the help of LTSB, and working closely with local employers, they can find paid apprenticeships which are highly likely to result in full-time employment.

Although it was clear that the interviewees were nervous, the LTSB staff put them at ease and Steve did his part by sitting down with them prior to the session and giving them some friendly advice. He was very impressed with the professionalism and drive of these young people aspiring to greater things in their lives.

LTSB relies on growing relationships with local employers. Operating in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, the MCF grant of £5,000 will help them in their valuable work with disadvantaged young people in finding full-time employment through apprenticeships and professional development sessions.

On a snowbound and extremely foggy morning of January 30th 2019, members of three provinces came together to present a grant of £12,000 to North West Air Ambulance

David Walmsley, Assistant Provincial Grand Master in West Lancashire, Simon Palfreyman, Assistant Provincial Grand Master in Cheshire, and John Farrington, Deputy Provincial Grand Master in East Lancashire, ably assisted by provincial charity stewards from Cheshire and East Lancashire, all braved the snow to meet with staff from North West Air Ambulance to take a short tour of the facilities and learn a little more about what they do.

On this particular morning, the two impressive Eurocopter EC135 helicopters were grounded due to poor visibility. One of the pilots, Lee, took the opportunity of telling them that from the City Heliport (Barton Aerodrome) there is an easily referred to visual point which denotes the flying limit of 1500m; Barton Bridge.

North West Air Ambulance now have two rapid response cars which can take the place of the helicopters on days such as this should they be required, and are also able to carry blood supplies.

For the helicopters to operate it costs £9 per minute in fuel, while an average call out costs £2,500. The recent grant of £12,000 will go a fair way to providing fuel for one air ambulance for a month.

North West Air Ambulance operate three helicopters. two at City Heliport (Barton) and one over at Blackpool. A chart on the wall showed they can cover a fair proportion of the North West in 20-30 minutes travelling at up to 160mph, and 20 minutes to Lancaster and North Wales.

When Gordon Fielding, Charity Steward of Concord Lodge No. 1534 in East Lancashire, heard about the arson attack on Red Lane Primary School in Bolton, he approached the school to see if any help was needed

He learnt that, although much of the damage to the school property was covered by insurance, items such as nativity costumes, PE kit and take home bags, which had been purchased from funds raised by the children and parents, were not insured. The school was asked to prepare a list of what was needed which totalled around £4,600.

An application was made to the East Lancashire Masonic Charity Grants Committee who awarded a grant of £3,500 which was topped up with a donation of £500 from members of Concord Lodge. Red Lane Primary School is actually in the Bolton District but, as it is only some half a mile from Radcliffe Masonic Hall where Concord Lodge meets, it was decided that it was appropriate for Bury District to make the application. 

Unfortunately, on the day that the cheques were to be presented Gordon was unable to attend due to illness but Chris Eccles, the Bury District Charity Steward, was delighted to attend and present the cheques. The presentation was made at a school assembly when Chris was able to explain to the children where the money had come from and what is was for.

The school's Executive Head Lisa Whittaker and Headteacher Rhian Driver both expressed their most sincere appreciation to Gordon Fielding for the initial approach and to the generosity of Freemasons who had made possible the replacement of the damaged equipment. As a result of the masonic donations, the school had been able to stage its annual nativity play, in front of parents and guests.

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