Victoria Cross hero and fellow Freemason Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry is the founder of the charity. After receiving the cheque from Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master Andrew Manasseh, Johnson said: 'I believe that young people involved in gang culture deserve a fresh start, no matter who they are or the journey they've been on. I am truly grateful to my fellow London Freemasons, for their generosity in supporting my work.'
Johnson Beharry's mission is to help young people turn their backs on gang culture. His work in dealing with gang culture began with a life-changing moment in his life. After immigrating to London from Grenada in 1999, aged just 19, he found himself at the crossroads of life and had to establish a future worth living or, he had no future at all.
At 21 years he joined the British Army. While serving with the 1st Battalion in Iraq, The Princess of Wales Regiment, his armoured Warrior came under attack. His colleagues were severely injured, and despite being exposed to the enemy fire, he bravely drove to safety saving their lives. Shortly after that incident, he was caught in another trap which caused severe head injuries to him and his crew. In a display of extreme gallantry, he drove out of the ambush before losing consciousness. While still recovering from brain surgery, Lance Sergeant Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross.
It was during his road to recovery that Johnson became committed to using the VC bestowed upon him to focus on helping youngsters in disadvantaged communities.
To accomplish his charity work, Johnson became a London Freemason joining London's Queensman Lodge, the London Lodge of the Queen's Regiment, which was an infantry regiment of the British Army formed in 1966 through the amalgamation of the four regiments of the Home Counties Division. In turn, the regiment became part of Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment in a further merger in 1992.
In concluding his thanks, Johnson added: 'My work with the JBVC Foundation and London Freemasons helps me to encapsulates my ambition, confidence and passion for showing young people there are an alternative and positive future beyond life in a gang.'