Members of the Beda Widows Chapter in Bedfordshire have delivered a box full of TLC teddies to the paediatric team at Bedford Hospital

Nicola Lane, Paediatric Sister at Bedford Hospital said: ‘We are so grateful to Bedfordshire Freemasons for their never ending supply of TLC Teddies. When a child is admitted to an A&E department, it is a very scary environment, and quite naturally children are very nervous. 

'We find the provision of a TLC Teddy helps calm them down and allows the medical team to work with the TLC Teddy to treat the child.’

Martin Wilson, Charity Steward for the Province of Bedfordshire, said: ‘Since TLC Teddies started some 17 years ago, Freemasons have donated over 2,500,000 TLC Teddies to local A&E departments in England & Wales. We receive numerous “Thank You Letters” from grateful parents, telling us how the provision of a simple TLC Teddy has comforted their child whilst attending an A&E department.’

Wales Children's Air Ambulance's are now carrying teddy bears thanks to a wonderful scheme operated by South Wales Freemasons

The Wales Children's Air Ambulance work with NHS teams across Wales to care for children and babies who need urgent medical care, or to be flown home from a children’s centre – saving vulnerable young patients a long journey by road.

In July, South Wales Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) Committee Members Colin Grey and Peter Williams visited the Heliport base of the Wales Children’s Air Ambulance in Cardiff Docks to present an initial batch of 66 bears. The TLC Scheme is supported through the generosity of South Wales Freemasons donations which fund the purchase of teddy bears to supply NHS-related services and help alleviate distressed children.

South Wales TLC currently supplies five Accident & Emergency Departments & Minor Injury Units, as well as Noah’s Ark National Children’s Hospital For Wales, and has donated over 4,500 Teddy Bears to date.

Through charitable donations, Wales Air Ambulance (WAA) introduced a fourth aircraft in 2016, dedicated to inter-hospital transfer work of children. This made WAA the largest air ambulance operation in the UK. The EC135 T2e helicopter operates from the charity’s airbase in Cardiff and covers the whole of Wales.

The transfer helicopter is an important part of their work with children, who often need to travel to specialist paediatric and neonatal centres across the UK. Every single patient is different, and CWAA will take each child to the hospital unit that is needed for the illness or injury.

A plaque has been unveiled at Warrington Hospital thanking Cheshire masons for donating nearly 6,000 teddies over the past 14 years to the children’s A&E department as part of its Teddies for Loving Care appeal

Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Mel Pickup said: ‘The teddies are a valuable tool to the staff, bringing comfort to children in distress.’ 

Stephen Blank, PGM for Cheshire, and Kevin Poynton, AGM for West Lancashire, represented their respective Provinces at the event.

Following a successful racing event held at Lingfield Park by Surrey Freemasons, children in Surrey hospitals are continuing to receive teddy bears for comfort and support

Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is a registered charity distributing around 500 teddies a week to children in a number of A&E units across Surrey regardless of their background, challenge or need. Every child who attends their A&E Units is given a teddy bear for comfort and support thanks to TLC and Surrey Freemasons.

The teddy bears handed out to children in Surrey hospitals are part of a much larger Teddies for Loving Care project which is being led by Masonic Provinces across England and Wales.

‘It’s really heart-tugging to see a distressed child almost immediately calmed when a bear is presented to them and children get to keep the teddy bear too and take it home,’ said Ian Chandler, Surrey’s Provincial Grand Master, following a recent visit to a Surrey hospital.

With TLC now firmly in place, Surrey Freemasons were faced with a new dilemma. Do they stop funding TLC in the hope that hospitals will continue by finding new sponsors, or do they find new and innovative ways to raise funds to continue to support this valuable service?  The members of Surrey chose the latter.

Ian Chandler, plus many members with their families and friends, attended a fundraising race meeting at Lingfield Park on Saturday 23 June 2018 to support TLC. All seven races were sponsored by Surrey masons, making this evening event unprecedented in the history of Lingfield Park.    

Racegoers enjoyed a fabulous evening of racing, bathed in the Surrey sunshine around the racecourse. Guests were entertained by former Drifters singer Jason Nembhard and tapped their feet to the music of a Michael Jackson tribute band. One lucky guest even won a holiday to the Algarve in the raffle.

Ian Chandler added: ‘This was Surrey Freemasons’ first venture into organising such a high profile public event. Our thanks go to Lingfield Racecourse and all of the racegoers for supporting us on such an enjoyable evening.’

David Toulson-Burk, Executive Director of Lingfield Park, added: ‘We’ve been delighted to welcome Surrey masons to our race meeting. It’s heart-warming to see so many local business people here supporting their local community and we were thrilled to play our part in their fundraising.’

Thanks to the fundraising, every child attending Surrey A&E units continue to receive teddies.

Eleven-year-old Clara Garavini has walked across Wales in aid of Teddies for Loving Care and raised over £2,000

Her three-day adventure took place over the May Bank Holiday weekend, beginning near Welshpool and ending at Claragh Bay near Aberystwyth on the coast. 

Clara was supported by her father Nick Garavini, Immediate Past Master of Longmynd Lodge No. 4877 in the Province of Shropshire, who planned the route and walked with her. A JustGiving page set up to raise funds has already seen Clara overtake her target of £2,000 and donations are still welcomed.

Nick said: 'This was a big undertaking for a girl who is, after all, still just eleven. Over £2,200 represents nearly half of Shropshire's annual spending on teddies for this wonderful charity.'

The walk itself was arduous, made more so by the appalling weather. 'We began in mist and were treated to some traditional Welsh Bank Holiday weather before enjoying glorious sunshine as we neared our destination,' said Nick.

Nevertheless, Clara was able to feel a real sense of achievement and to know that her walk will enable thousands of distressed children to receive some comfort at a time of need.

As many people are now living beyond what was once considered a normal life span, there is an increasing awareness of age-related mental health problems, dementia being uppermost

The problem has recently been brought to the attention of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Derbyshire and the Derby-based Spencer Lodge No. 8773 to seek their practical help in assisting hospital clinical staff. The notice was brought by Mrs Val Haylett, recently appointed to the position of Hospital Governor for the City of Derby, and who retired from the NHS in 2014 after 26 years working at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Whilst attending last year, at a meeting during which radiology staff explained the frequent difficulties of encouraging anxious dementia patients to enter the tunnel of a MRI scanner, Val spoke of her practical experience and how she had witnessed distressed children in A&E departments and on wards, effectively comforted by being given a teddy bear. She suggested that they might well prove useful for distressed adult dementia patients.

Hitherto essentially for children, the teddy bears are regularly given to hospitals throughout Derbyshire by the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity and recently it gave the county’s hospitals the 50,000th teddy through the Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) scheme.

Responding readily to the dementia-related request, the Derbyshire Provincial Grand Charity set aside a sum of £1,000 to provide for supplies of TLC bears over a trial period of 12 months. These will be used for dementia patients at the London Road Community Hospital, the Royal Derby Hospital and outpatient departments.

A larger sum of £1,500 has also been presented directly from Spencer Lodge to the hospital for the purchase of more expensive and proven comforting aids, specifically for dementia patients.

Proof that the use of dolls and bears can bring great benefits to some dementia-diagnosed patients, particularly those in the latter stages, is supported by the charity Dementia UK through its Admiral Nursing section. It has been shown that simply giving a patient a doll to hold can be comforting and enjoyable, and possibly improve their verbal communication ability.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 00:00

Classic moments at Windsor Great Park

The Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, waved the starting flag on the Classic 300 at a family fun day at Windsor Great Park

The Grand Director of Ceremonies Oliver Lodge then introduced the Grand Master to the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Cllr Sayonara Luxton, the Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire Martin Peters, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire Colin Hayes and Provincial Grand Masters from other provinces.

The event, organised by the Province of Berkshire, also included a teddy bears’ picnic in support of the Teddies for Loving Care appeal, which raises funds for the supply of cuddly toys to paediatric emergency departments.

The day also featured a challenge to get 300 people to walk a mile along the park’s famed tree-lined avenue, the Long Walk, to the Copper Horse statue at the top of Snow Hill – in the end more than 400 attendees took part.

Published in UGLE
Tuesday, 13 March 2018 00:00

Kent's afternoon of family run

On a cloudless Saturday, schools and children from across the Province of East Kent and organisations from the local community came together in Harrietsham for an afternoon of fun

The Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) appeal (East Kent) President John Grumbridge and former Deputy Provincial Grand Master Roger Odd kicked off proceedings by officially opening the picnic. 

Among the many classic fundraising attractions to enjoy on the site were a coconut shy, tombola, a cake stall and apple bobbing, which were enjoyed by children and adults alike. The East Kent TLC Committee provided for free an inflatable bouncy slide, dragon assault course, ball pool and castle. Many of these attractions were manned by Freemasons and their families, as well as the Province’s own TLC team.

Roy Brooks, Secretary of the TLC appeal (East Kent) and member of the organising committee said, ‘It’s great to see so many different parts of our local community come together under the banner of Freemasonry to enjoy such a happy day.’

Durham Freemasons have handed out a milestone 80,000 teddy bears to children who face emergency treatment in hospital

For more than a decade, Durham Freemasons have been supplying TLC teddies to A&E departments and walk in centres throughout the boundaries of the Province to help alleviate the distress of children attending hospital following what is normally a traumatic experience.

It also acts as a distraction and allows the person treating the child valuable time to carry out what they need to do, sometimes even treating the teddy first to show the child that everything will be OK. Children are also able to take the cuddly teddies home with them after they leave.

At a recent visit to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s A&E Paediatric Department, the Provincial Grand Master for Durham, Eric Heaviside, accompanied by local Freemasons, met up with some of the nurses who use these bears on a daily basis. During the visit, they had the honour and privilege of presenting the 80,000th TLC teddy to a young girl admitted to the A&E at the time of the visit.

Freemason Duncan Maw, who has recently taken over the management of the initiative, said: 'All the A&E staff love the teddies as they can really help them carry out their vital work and all kids love teddies. It’s a simple and effective way to distract children from their illness and something we as a Province are extremely proud of being part of.'

Debbie Hall, Paediatrics Lead Nurse, Accident and Emergency at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: 'The children we see in our department are often very distressed and upset – these teddy bears really help us to calm them down and assess their needs as soon as possible.

'We are really grateful to Freemasons of Durham for donating so many of these toys bears over the last decade. It makes a real difference to all of the children who visit us, as well as the staff on the department.'

Local communities are set to benefit following a surprise £50,000 donation to Brecon Hospital from Brecon Freemasons, in the Province of South Wales

The generous donation was made at the Brecon Freemasons’ Festive Board, which took place at the Castle Hotel in Brecon, to mark 300 years since the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge.

Professor Vivienne Harpwood, Chair of Powys Teaching Health Board, receiving the donation on behalf of the hospital, said: 'I am so grateful and humbled by this generous donation from Brecon Freemasons. We knew in advance that the Freemasons wished to make a donation to Brecon War Memorial Hospital, but the size of the donation was very much under wraps until the cheque was presented to us.

'This will make an amazing difference, and we look forward to working with the Brecon Freemasons to use this donation for the benefit of local communities.'

Graham Richards, Charity Steward of Brecknock Lodge No. 651, presented the cheque saying: 'The highlight of our Tercentenary celebrations was the presentation of a cheque for £50,000 for the benefit of the Brecon War Memorial Hospital in appreciation and a recognition of the services and care given to Freemasons and their families and indeed to the whole community of Brecon & District.'

The Tercentenary has been an opportunity for fundraising and charitable works across the UK. John Ingham, Worshipful Master of the Brecknock Lodge, said: 'The first lodge in the UK was established in 1717, and here in Brecon our first recorded meeting was in 1764 with the Brecknock Lodge meeting in its current form since 1855. What better way to mark this momentous occasion than by upholding one of the main tenets of our organisation, the support of charity.

'Over £70,000 was donated to good causes and I would like to thank all Lodge members for their support.'

Donations by Brecon Freemasons included £5,000 to Wales Air Ambulance, £200 to Calan Domestic Violence Services and £15,000 shared between the following 15 local and international charities:

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