Charity wheelbarrow push to the top of Mount Snowdon in aid of the National Autistic Society

On the 18th August 2012 two brethren of Silurian Lodge No. 471 in the Province of Monmouthshire completed a charity challenge of pushing a wheelbarrow with a bag of cement as its cargo from the Llanberis car park in Snowdonia to the top of Mount Snowdon via the Llanberis path – a total of 5 miles uphill.

The challenge came about after Craig Summerhill, a corporal in the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers Militia, had contacted his friend Dean Crighton, a staff sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, to see if he had some up-to-date maps of the Llanberis area for a sponsored walk to the top of Snowdon, all in aid of the National Autistic Society.

In Craig's absence Dean set up the Facebook group Craig Summerhill's charity wheelbarrow up Snowdon!. It was agreed that this challenge would go ahead after much friendly banter from the 300 or so fans who had joined the group, so a date was set and the build-up and fundraising began.

Dean raised £1,100 through a JustGiving page, and friends helped to raise a further £241. The usual sponsorship forms were pushed around the Province, and among friends, workmates, colleagues and families, and in no time at all the day had arrived.

They also had support from Sgt Dan Waites, Dan's partner Sabrina, Dean's son Daniel, as well as other friends and fundraisers.

Craig started pushing for the first leg, and they rotated with regular stops for fluid intake and to check the feet of those who weren’t quite so used to this type of terrain. Lunch was taken at the halfway station where they were greeted by well wishers, some of whom threw donations into the barrow.

With lunch over they pushed on. In some areas the terrain was too rough to push the wheelbarrow, so the cement was loaded into a military rucksack and carried. The weather was appalling but they climbed on towards the summit. The time to the top was 2 hours and 50 minutes, a brilliant effort made by all for this worthy cause, and a total of £2,387 was finally raised!

November of 2012 Dean and Craig were delighted to be nominated for an award from Newport City Council for going the extra mile.

On Friday 30th November the RW the Rev Malcolm Lane presented 29 local charities and good causes with donations ranging from £500 to £2,000. In total over £30,000 was donated that evening. The funds were from the Monmouthshire Masonic Trust Fund and each recipient was selected by the lodges of the Province. The monies were raised in the late 90s by the brethren of the Province to enable them to donate to local charities in perpetuity. Each representatative of the various charities said a few words about their work and how difficult it was for them to source adequate funding. To listen to the endeavours of such hard working people is very humbling and emphasises the fact we need to continue our charitable work to the best of our ability.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:00

Neil Smith is 2012 Paralympic torchbearer

Carrying the torch

To coach a world champion is the pinnacle of the career of many coaches, but to achieve this twice takes a very special individual

Since 2005, Monmouthshire Freemason Neil Smith has lifted athletes to some of the greatest heights in Paralympic world cycling, well supported with grants from masonic charities in the Province.

Neil cares passionately for his individual riders, and they have shown their gratitude by successfully nominating him as a 2012 Paralympic torchbearer. His first world champion cyclist, Jody Cundy, benefitted from Neil’s coaching, which was paramount in his transition from Paralympic swimmer to cyclist. Now he has a second world champion, Mark Colbourne, who won the Paracycling World Championships in Los Angeles in February.

Wednesday, 01 September 2010 12:39

PGM’s Family Occasion

It was a special family occasion for Monmouthshire when Provincial Grand Master, The Rev. Malcolm Lane, installed his son Matthew into the chair of his mother lodge, St Gabriel No. 8711. Also present was Matthew’s grandfather, George Lane.

Welsh award: keep the wheels turning

A Welsh national sporting award has been won by Monmouthshire Mason Neil Smith

Welsh Mason Neil Smith, from Newport, has won a prestigious national award for coaching and encouraging disabled riders to the top of the sport of cycling by spending many hours at the trackside of the Welsh National Velodrome. 

He was awarded the Sports Council for Wales Coach of the Year Award for 2006 in the Disabled Sports People: Performance category, and was presented with his award in Cardiff by Alun Pugh AM, Minister for Culture, Welsh Language and Sport in the Welsh Assembly. 

Neil, a telecommunications operations director, is a Past Master of Lodge of Concord No. 9010, Province of Monmouthshire, and the Lodge has been giving its backing to his efforts by donating £1,000 towards purchasing a tandem for visually impaired riders. 

Among Neil’s achievements is seeing Jody Cundy win two Paralympic gold medals, breaking two UCI world records and become the UCI world champion over one kilometre. 

Neil commented: “I think seeing Jody at the World Cup in Manchester was the greatest thing for me.” In addition, he has helped Welsh juniors Nathan Tyrell and James Brookman to the top in their respective disciplines in Great Britain. 

Sports minister Alun Pugh said: “Without the valuable contribution of coaches, both professional and community based, we would not be able to fulfil the aspirations of Climbing Higher, our sports and physical activity strategy.” 

The official award citation said: “Neil has mentored and encouraged athletes to some of the greatest Paralympic heights in British cycling. His cyclist, Jody Cundy, has benefitted from Neil’s excellent coaching and feels that Neil has been paramount in his transition from Paralympic swimmer to cyclist. 

“Neil has provided the skill, encouragement and leadership in the lead up to competitions which has helped Jody to win two IPC Paralympic Gold Medals, two UCI World Records and become IPC World Record holder in the 1km Sprint. 

“He spends many hours a week coaching at Newport, where he not only coaches Jody, but lends his experience and knowledge to a squad that includes Nathan Tyrell and James Brookman – two talented Welsh Juniors who are number one in Great Britain. Neil is a fantastic coach and a great motivator who cares passionately for his individual riders.” 

It is a tribute to Neil that he should have won such a prestigious national award arising out of his part-time work for disabled people who want to enjoy their sport. 

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