Doing Les proud

Mari Street, the widow of Bro Leslie J. Street who was a member of Wayfarer Lodge No. 8679 meeting in Coalville, jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet for a skydive in order to raise funds for the British Lung Foundation

Mari recalls: 'In 2008, Les developed an annoying cough so we went to the doctor. At first, we thought it was just a chest infection. But then in March 2009 a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis was given. In just 8 months he died. Les was everything to me. Losing him was so hard. Pulmonary fibrosis is such an insidious, shockingly cruel condition. That’s why I decided to start fundraising. If the money can go to research which can help other people, then it’s worthwhile.'

In what would have been Les's 70th birthday and 7 years after he died, Mari, who is 68, set out to raise money for research in his memory by skydiving. Members of the Wayfarer Lodge, including Les' son W Bro Mark Street, got together and supported Mari with a donation of £250.

After the skydive, Mari said: 'There was never a point where I felt afraid. It was just beautiful, and incredibly exhilarating. We free-fell for 45 seconds, then suddenly I heard a flapping sound and my parachute went out and everything went so quiet. We just drifted down. It was amazing, honestly.'

W Bro Mark said: 'I proposed my Dad into Freemasonry in 2004 and he progressed through the offices in the lodge and was Junior Warden at the time of his untimely death. To me, my Dad epitomised what Freemasonry is all about as he always had time for anyone, gave what he could, in terms of time and money, to support worthy causes, was totally dependable and reliable and committed absolutely to the offices that he held.'

Mari concluded: 'People ask me what I think Les would have said. I think he would have told me I was bloody mad! But proud of me, like he always was. He was such an incredibly funny, lovely man. This condition has no respect for anything or anyone. It was so awful to watch him struggle so much. I know that money I've raised can help other people, and it makes it all so worthwhile.'

Annual General Meeting of The Freemasons' Grand Charity

9 September 2015

The following individual non-masonic grants were approved:

Medical research

a. £45,000 to Cure Parkinson’s Trust to fund research into targeting new treatment
b. £50,000 to Diabetes UK to fund the development of a Vaccine for Type 1 diabetes
c. £40,000 to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to fund research into inflammatory bowel disease
d. £65,000 to Moorfields Eye Charity to fund research into age-related macular degeneration
e. £20,000 to Restore – Burn and Wound Research to fund research into skin allograft acceptance for burn injuries
f. £60,000 to UCL Cancer Institute Research Trust to fund research into the immunology of lung cancer
g. £32,000 to University of Leicester to fund research into the role of visual crowding in reading difficulty across the lifespan

Youth opportunities

h. £7,500 to Armonico Consort Ltd to fund workshops in Special Educational Needs Schools
i. £22,000 to Canterbury Cathedral Trust to fund an apprentice stonemason
j. £10,000 to Farms for City Children to fund a week on a farm in Devon for inner city children
k. £10,000 to Groundwork UK to fund three Green Teams across the UK
l. £25,000 to StreetGames to fund the ‘Us Girls’ Empowerment Project

Vulnerable people

m. £15,000 to AbilityNet to fund IT services for older disabled people
n. £20,000 to The Back-Up Trust to fund the salary of the Schools Inclusion Co-ordinator
o. £40,000 to British Lung Foundation to fund the Singing for Lung Health Programme
p. £47,750 to British Wireless for the Blind Fund to fund the replacement of old wireless internet audio players
q. £50,000 to Canine Partners to fund a residential building at the new training centre in Leicestershire
r. £30,000 to Carers Trust to fund the salary of the Policy and Development Manager
s. £15,000 to Jubilee Sailing Trust to fund the Buddy Bursary scheme
t. £25,000 to Listening Books to fund the expansion of the Books for Hospices mini-library service
u. £7,500 to The National Deaf Children’s Society to fund workshops helping deaf children and young people
v. £37,250 to National Star Foundation to fund specialist residential accommodation for people who have severe and complex disabilities
w. £20,000 to The Royal British Legion Poppy Factory to fund an employability consultant
x. £43,000 to Victim Support to fund a volunteer team for the helpline
y. £40,000 to WellChild to fund a Children’s Nurse

Religious buildings

z. £5,000 to Blackburn Cathedral to fund the restoration of the Cloister Garth building
aa. £5,000 to St Davids Cathedral to contribute to the upgrade of the seating facilities at the Cathedral
bb. £10,000 to Winchester Cathedral Trust to contribute to the new Learning Development Centre

The following amounts were approved for disposal by the Council of the Grand Charity over the coming six months:

a. £1,261,000 for major non-masonic grants
b. £150,000 for non-masonic grants of £5,000 or less
c. £600,000 for grants to hospice services in 2015 (£500,000 for allocation to adult hospices and £100,000 to children’s hospices)
d. £192,000 for grants to air ambulance and similar rescue services in England, Wales and the Crown Dependencies in 2016

The following Emergency Grants made in the past nine months were reported by the President:

£30,000 to the British Red Cross for relief work following flooding in the Balkans
£20,000 to the British Red Cross for relief work following cyclone Pam which struck Vanuatu
£50,000 to the British Red Cross for relief work following an earthquake in Nepal

Published in The Grand Charity

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