The Province of Guernsey & Alderney kicked off its Tercentenary celebrations with the opening of an exhibition at the Guernsey Museum at Candie, which attracted wide media coverage

The exhibition featured a range of local masonic memorabilia, mainly from the Province’s own museum and library.

A group of Surrey residents who find it challenging to communicate because of their profound and multiple learning disabilities are being helped thanks to a £15,000 grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The grant to the Us in a Bus charity will be used to help fund two interaction practitioners. They will be supporting 86 people, mainly in the Reigate and Banstead areas, the majority of whom do not use words to express themselves and find it very difficult to communicate and connect with the world around them.

Victoria Goody, chief executive of Us in a Bus, said: ‘I was delighted to welcome Bill Caughie [pictured] and his fellow Surrey Freemasons so they could see the impact that our work has on people’s lives and the huge importance of their donation.’

Trip down memory lane

A grant of £10,000 has been given to the therapeutic gardens project at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield by the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The first of the two new outdoor spaces is a dementia care garden, which uses colour, scent and visual stimulation to evoke memories.

It will recreate a residential street from the post-war era, complete with period shop fronts, Victorian street lamps and a genuine 1960s Mini car that will be a familiar sight to many of the patients.

The second garden is aimed at patients recovering from a stroke and draws on Japanese design. It will provide a tranquil haven for patients for whom the noise of a busy ward can be overwhelming, as well as a quiet place for family and friends to visit.

Freemasons have given £50,000 to the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital to provide support for the families of children with life-threatening heart problems

Treatment can last for months and can be an enormous strain for families. A specialist support worker, Jan O’Donell, has been recruited and trained by the fund, in conjunction with St Oswald’s Hospice.

She will work with parents and siblings, as well as being available for hospital staff who inevitably sometimes struggle with the emotional impact of their jobs.

The masonic grant includes £45,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, with a further £5,000 donated by the Northumberland and Durham Red Cross of Constantine Freemasons’ Care of Children Fund.

Published in Freemasonry Cares
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:21

A rare condition under the spotlight

Four-year-old Isobel Walker has a burning, uncontrollable hunger that will always be with her

It is the most noticeable symptom of a rare condition called Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS).

As a result, her parents have to enforce a strict diet that will never end. Even worse, people with PWS can only consume 60 per cent of the calories that someone without the condition would eat, as their digestion works differently.

Isobel is one of 2,000 people in the country with PWS. Other symptoms include low muscle tone, poor temperature regulation, a risk of obesity and moderate learning difficulties.

It is 60 years since PWS was discovered, and the Masonic Charitable Foundation is marking the event with a grant of £10,000 to the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association UK. The donation will help to fund a support worker for families with a PWS child in the south of England.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:15

Ely Cathedral hits the right notes

The first Tercentenary event of the Province of Cambridgeshire was deemed a huge success when more than 1,000 people enjoyed a special concert at Ely Cathedral in association with the Dean and Chapter

Suffolk soprano Laura Wright was the star attraction, accompanied by the cathedral choir and the Ely Imps (a choir of children aged seven to 13), under the direction of the cathedral’s director of music Paul Trepte and assistant organist Edmund Aldhouse.

Provincial Grand Master William Dastur welcomed everyone to the concert and thanked the Dean and Chapter of the cathedral together with the sponsors for their support. The concert raised £25,000, to be divided between the Ely Cathedral Trust and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:14

Supporting Syrian refugee children

A group led by Sue Gow, a fundraiser based in Keighley, West Yorkshire, has been providing toys, educational activities, food, drinks and essential first aid supplies to Syrian children in refugee camps in southern Europe

Many of the children have had no education since fleeing their homes, so Lodge of the Three Graces, No. 408, which meets at Keighley, has helped some of them to join a school in Fethiye, Turkey.

Turkish law demands that such children must be assessed before starting school but a major hurdle to this was the cost of the 160-mile round trip to the nearest assessment centre at Mugla.

The lodge paid for the coach travel, exam costs and food for the journey for 14 children and their parents, as well as new school uniforms and shoes. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:09

Bath Masonic Hall celebrates 150 years

The historic Bath Masonic Hall was originally built in 1750 as a theatre, becoming the first provincial Theatre Royal in 1768

It later became a Catholic chapel, but when this was relocated, the building was acquired by Freemasons in 1865 and dedicated the following year.

Celebrating 150 years as a masonic venue, guests at a special event included the Mayor, Cllr Paul Crossley, and his wife Margaret, who were met by the Masters of the seven lodges meeting in Bath.

Published in More News
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:07

Emergency aid in East Africa

Across Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia more than 20 million people are on the brink of starvation

The Masonic Charitable Foundation has responded to an urgent appeal for support with an emergency grant of £100,000 to aid agency Plan International UK.

The grant will help Plan International UK, part of the Disasters Emergency Committee, to support vulnerable children and their families by distributing food packages and hygiene and water-purification kits; providing school meals to ensure children can resume their education; and helping to protect children from violence and abuse.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 10:59

Pedal power in Bucks

The Chilterns MS Centre in Wendover has been providing advice and care for multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers and their families for over 30 years

But the centre needed a specialist wheelchair-adapted exercise bike, which requires a physiotherapist to supervise users.

Buckingham’s Grenville Lodge, No. 1787, donated £2,500, while the Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) matched the lodge donation. Together, the funds covered the full cost of the bike.

The BMCF’s Steve Smirthwaite met the centre’s chief executive, Robert Breakwell; head of physiotherapy, Chris Beach; and Peter Cella, who receives weekly treatment there, to see the new bike in action.

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