The Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) have donated £4,000 to the Puzzle Centre in Middle Claydon to enable them to purchase desks and seating for their Outreach Team, as well as nursery furniture and materials for their Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS)

The Puzzle Centre is a charity which promotes and delivers early intervention for young children with Autism or communication difficulties and provides training and outreach to families and practitioners across the UK.

Materials purchased with the grant will help to make picture cards and emotion fobs which allow non-verbal children to express themselves and for parents and teachers to give simple instructions.

Sarah Dolder, from The Puzzle Centre, thanked the BMCF for the donation and included comments from parents whose child had benefitted and progressed due to the use of the PECS system and the interventions of the centre.

The amazing amount of £1,904 was raised when Grand Union Lodge No. 9641 in Buckinghamshire held a Memorial Golf Day in memory of the late Colin Cruse, a Past Master of the Lodge

The event was hosted by Peter Critchley at The Three Locks Golf Club in Stoke Hammond and the winning team 'The Capitanos were from Brickhill Lodge No. 6968. Money raised from the event, which will now be held annually, was sent to support Colin’s favoured charity, Medical Detection Dogs.

Colin’s widow Trisher presented the cheque to Joy Rooks from Medical Detection Dogs.

On 8th September 2019, Buckinghamshire Freemason Andy Barr arranged for 12 autistic train enthusiasts plus their carers and parents to take a trip on a vintage train on the London Underground between Amersham and Harrow on the Hill

The group travelled in 1950's carriages pulled by a vintage Metropolitan Line Electric Locomotive Sarah Siddons, which is the oldest working electric locomotive in the world still owned by the original company. The trip, which was courtesy of the London Transport Museum who donated the tickets, was part of the Old Amersham Heritage Day.

Andy is a member of Frederick Lawson Lodge No, as well as the Treasurer of the Beaconsfield ‘Freemasonry in the Community’ initiative.

Sarah Snow of the charity Engine Shed wrote a letter saying: ‘We had a wonderful day out on the Sarah Siddons trip from Amersham. Members from both our adult group and our children's group came along with parents and carers and enjoyed a vintage journey.

‘Most of us also took the vintage bus into Amersham town where a fair was taking place on the high street. Thank you to the Freemasons of Buckinghamshire for this memorable day out!'

Padbury Village Hall has received a grant of £3,480 from the Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF), which enabled the installation of new secondary double glazing to the Victorian building

Mike Long, a Buckinghamshire Freemason, proposed the grant as the hall is on a road which is experiencing much-increased traffic and noise due to new housing developments nearby. In addition, the windows were large and draughty, and with this being a listed building it would be difficult and very costly to replace them entirely. 

The hall is much used by community groups of all ages for a variety of purposes ranging from art and dancing classes, social clubs for the elderly as well as weddings and funerals.

In thanking the BMCF, the Hall’s Committee pointed out the threefold advantages of the secondary glazing in that the hall would be quieter, warmer and heating costs would be reduced. These benefits would be experienced by all hall users who they were sure will also be most appreciative.

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have supported the Head2Head Theatre Charity with a grant of £500 to allow them to put on a performance of ‘Toad on the Road’ in Aylesbury

Head2Head Theatre is a volunteer-led charity which was founded in 2006 to provide multi-sensory theatre for children with disabilities that can be enjoyed with their parents and siblings. During performances, the audience move around with the actors discovering scenes and characters from the story.

The shows are full of songs, signing, and sensory moments allowing participants to enjoy, assimilate and comprehend at their own levels.

During the two day visit to Aylesbury, Rebecca Bailey, a pupil at Pebble Brook School, was able to rehearse and perform with the cast in front of a packed audience, many of whom appreciated the opportunity for their disabled child and other siblings to have a stimulating experience together.

The £500 grant comes from the Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund.

Having seen Buckinghamshire’s Provincial Grand Master John Clark put through 26 miles of intense rowing along the River Thames to raise £7,000 for charity back in June 2019, two double kayaks used for the challenge have now been donated

John Clark completed the challenge alongside Assistant Provincial Grand Master Gary Brodie to raise the money in aid of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The kayaks they used on the day have now been handed over to the Jubilee River Riverside Centre to help people with disabilities get on the water.

As a result of the initial donation from the Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund, in conjunction with the Slough Masonic Centre, the Jubilee River Riverside Centre have applied for further funding for additional Kayaks designed specifically for people with disabilities.

Moving forwards, the Slough Masonic Centre plan to work closely with the Riverside Centre to help with its work in sports, youth work and for tackling environmental issues.

If you would like to support The Paddle Challenge you can donate by clicking here.

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £15,000 to help Carers Milton Keynes to both extend and continue to provide vital support to unpaid carers in the area

The grant comes via the Masonic Charitable Foundation and will help them to increase and improve the support given to older carers, specifically carers aged 50 or over.

Carers Milton Keynes is a charity which supports the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who cannot manage without them due to illness, physical or learning disability, frailty, mental health issues or additional needs.

The support available from Carers Milton Keynes includes advice, information and guidance, emotional support and counselling, young carers and young adult carers support, carers support groups and training courses.

Carers Milton Keynes commented: 'This generous award will enable us to grow the service to its full potential.'

The Pace Centre has received a grant from the Buckinghamshire Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) for £3,980, enabling them to buy materials to construct a set of bespoke Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) books for 10 of its students

PODD books take 24 man-hours to compile and are used by children with complex communication needs, consisting of selected and organised sets of symbols.

Many of the students at the Pace Centre have movement problems in addition to their communication difficulties (such as cerebral palsy) and can select the symbols by eye movement allowing communication with their communication partner.

The advantage of this low-tech system is that it is portable and can be with the student at all times, allowing their essential needs to be understood as well as allowing communication with teachers, parents and peers. This can alleviate discomfort, frustration and unhappiness both in the school environment and in and out of the home.

They recently received a visit from two Buckinghamshire Freemasons, Phil Blacklaw, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, and Andrew Hough, Secretary of the BMCF. Phil and Andrew were keen to see how the donation was helping children at the school.

The Pace Centre has two sites in the Aylesbury area and serves children from the whole of Buckinghamshire as well as some from adjoining counties. The school has 34 students on the roll, but supports over 300 children.

The centre commented that the books will have very heavy use and will need to be expanded as each child’s vocabulary increases allowing them to maintain academic progress.

In the latest of several daredevil feats by the Buckinghamshire Provincial Executive Team, their Deputy Provincial Grand Master Hugh Douglas-Smith, along with Assistant Provincial Grand Master Phil Blacklaw, were convinced to abseil down the old Northamptonshire Lift Tower to raise money for the Bucks Masonic 2021 Festival

The lift tower stands a daunting 420 feet high and it was with some reservations that the intrepid duo ascended to its summit.

Indeed, Hugh readily admits to a cunning plan to avoid the adventure by attempting to eat enough to make himself too heavy for the ropes, thus preventing his participation. Fortunately though, the ropes have been upgraded and will allow those of a much greater size than Hugh to take part!

Meanwhile, Phil had taken the precaution of not telling his nearest and dearest of his planned descent so they received a lovely surprise on the day.

On a lovely June afternoon both men arrived unscathed at the foot of the tower having completed their daring challenge and, so far, raised over £2,500 for the 2021 Charity Festival.   

You can still donate here.

A well-planned cooperative effort, ably supported by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), has enabled a significant £60,000 donation to be made to Thames Hospice, on behalf of the Freemasons of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire

This great example of fraternal cooperation resulted in a significant grant to support the construction of its new hospice in Bray near Maidenhead. 

After several weeks of planning, the Provincial Grand Masters of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Anthony Howlett-Bolton and John Clark respectively, together with representatives of their Provincial Charities, met up with Debbie Raven, CEO of Thames Hospice, to formally present their combined donation in front of the site of the new hospice, which was from the Berkshire Masonic Charity, the Buckinghamshire Masonic Centenary Fund and the MCF.

Serving both Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Thames Hospice opened in 1987 but is now no longer able to keep up with the increasing number of people who need their care and services. As well as the increase in numbers, the charity is dealing with more complex and challenging medical conditions and, as a result, the decision was taken to build a larger facility. In 2017, planning permission was given to construct a new state of the art facility on land donated to the charity near Bray Lake. Inpatient rooms will increase from 17 to 28 and there will be more dedicated space to treat outpatients as well as to provide therapeutic and other activities.

This new Thames Hospice will open in 2020, with the £60,000 donation helping towards the building of two dedicated rooms in the £22 million facility. These rooms will be quiet areas for reflection and remembering loved ones as well as offering help and advice to families.

After the presentation ceremony, Debbie Raven gave an outline of how Thames Hospice is developing and some of its future plans. Once the new building is complete, there will be a permanent reminder of the contributions that the Freemasons of the two Provinces have made.

Debbie commented: ‘I cannot thank the Freemasons enough for their generous support towards our new Hospice. The donation comes on top of several others from their charitable funds and the incredible support they have given over many years. It will make a significant difference to our patients and their families.'

Together with Debbie, both Provincial Grand Masters acknowledged the cooperation and support given to this collaborative donation by the MCF and the continuing work they do in supporting the Hospice movement in England and Wales.

Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: ‘Working together with our fellow Freemasons in Buckinghamshire and the MCF has allowed us to make a significant contribution to Thames Hospice to help them in the wonderful work they are doing to help families across our counties.’

John Clark, Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire, commented: ‘The Freemasons of Buckinghamshire are delighted to be part of this joint initiative supporting the essential work performed by Thames Hospice. We look forward to establishing a long and fruitful relationship with them.’

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