SkillForce makes a difference
A team of students from Fareham worked tirelessly as part of the SkillForce 24 Hours to Make a Diﬀerence challenge, with the task of refurbishing North West Fareham Community Centre in readiness for a unique charity fête. SkillForce is an educational charity that works in partnership with 10,000 young people throughout 150 schools in England and Scotland.
Michael Wilks, Provincial Grand Master for Hampshire and Isle of Wight, represented The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and attended the opening together with representatives from Hampshire councils, schools and public services. ‘The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has, over the past six years, made grants of £240,000 to SkillForce, which is a national charity with a local presence, and the local team has received £90,000 of the £240,000,’ explained Michael. A selection of year 8, 9 and 10 students from The Henry Cort Community College also attended the charity fête and enjoyed a broad range of activities.
Phase 1 of the rebuild at the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) care home James Terry Court, in Croydon, has been officially opened. The event was attended by more than 40 representatives from the Province of Surrey, the Association of Friends and the RMBI.
RMBI President Willie Shackell opened the event and spoke about the history of the RMBI, which started in East Croydon with its first home, named ‘Asylum for Worthy, Aged and Decayed Freemasons’ in 1850. Shackell went on to explain why the rebuild of the home was necessary, as it needed to adapt to the changing needs of older people.
Thanks were given to Dennis Vine, who oversaw the development of the home in his role as Co-opted Trustee. Julian Birch, Regional Property Operations Manager, who sadly passed away in October, was remembered for all his efforts in the rebuild. The Association of Friends and the Province of Surrey, Metropolitan Grand Lodge, and the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight were also thanked for their support. The event saw the official opening of the lounge and library by Eric Stuart-Bamford.
The vehicle was found wasting away in a builder’s yard and after some negotiations and a good clean-up, it was fitted with a ‘Freemasonry in
the Community’ sign and driven around local shopping centres to advertise a masonic presence at the annual Bournemouth Air Festival.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight linked up with the Province of Dorset at the festival – although Bournemouth is officially in Dorset, it masonically remains in Hampshire. The two Provinces promoted Freemasonry through the Hampshire and Isle of Wight exhibition unit.
Clarabelle can look forward to future outings following the decision by Hampshire and Isle of Wight to work with the Jubilee Sailing Trust charity to help disabled sailors put on their annual pumpkin festival. The aim is to set a world record of the greatest number of scarecrows in one field.
Phase 1 of the re-build at RMBI care home James Terry Court, Croydon has been officially opened.
The event was attended by over 40 representatives from the Province of Surrey, the Association of Friends and the RMBI.
RMBI President Willie Shackell opened the event and welcomed all attendees. Willie spoke about the history of the RMBI which started in East Croydon with its first Home named ‘Asylum for Worthy, Aged and Decayed Freemasons’ in 1850. He went on to explain why the re-build of James Terry Court was necessary as the original Home was looking tired and needed to adapt to the ever changing needs of older people.
Thanks were given by Willie Shackell to Dennis Vine who had overseen the development of the Home in his role as Co-opted Trustee, to the residents of the Home for their patience with the building works and to the staff for providing high quality care during the re-build. Julian Birch, Regional Property Operations Manager who sadly passed away in October was remembered for all his efforts in the re-build of the Home
The Association of Friends and the Province of Surrey, Metropolitan Grand Lodge and the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight were also thanked for their generous and continued support of the Home and the RMBI.
Eric Stuart-Bamford, PGM of the Province of Surrey went on to speak about his appreciation and gratitude to Home Manager Di Collins and the staff at the Home for the services they provide to the residents. Mr Stuart-Bamford also recognised the support that the Association of Friends provide to the Home.
The event saw the official opening of the Lounge and Library by Eric Stuart-Bamford and also of the Therapy Room by Libby Stuart-Bamford. The Therapy Room was built using the generous donation provided by The Grand Stewards’ Lodge as part of their 275th anniversary celebrations.
Those present were given a tour of the new building and ended with canapés and refreshments.
Local Freemasons have presented the new charity – Isle of Wight Shopmobility – with a high-specification, four-wheel electric scooter for use by disabled people visiting Newport.
Funding was provided by a £750 grant from The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Masonic Grand Charity (Tom Langton Fund) following an application by Freshwater-based Needles Lodge No. 2838, who provided a further donation of £100 from the members of Needles Lodge.
Isle of Wight Shopmobility loans manual and powered wheelchairs and electric scooters to members of the public who have mobility issues.
Coastal Mobility has donated electric scooters and will look after repairs and servicing for the fleet of vehicles.
Donations have recently been received from the Provinces of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Surrey, Shropshire and the Mark Province of Cumberland and Westmorland. Lodges and individuals have also given generously.
Some have even participated in fundraising events such as marathons, mountain runs, and, for Ivor Macklin from Kent, a freezing February swim around Boscombe Pier. The captains of Chobham Golf Club have also run a whole year of fundraising activities for the charity.
As well as donating and raising money, many Freemasons volunteer at the hospices to help maintain the Lifelites equipment and to ensure that care staff are trained to use it. They also organise additional fundraising for their local Lifelites project, enabling the charity’s support to continue.
Lifelites chief executive, Simone Enefer- Doy, said: ‘The support from Freemasons is very important to us and helps Lifelites make a world of difference to the lives of children in hospices. Our volunteers are local Freemasons and are a shining example of the good work that masons do for local communities around the country.’
Lifelites (Charity No. 1115655) is a separate but subsidiary charity of the RMTGB. If you would like to donate to, or help support your local Lifelites project, please call 0207 440 4200 or visit www.lifelites.org for more information.
The continuing support the RMTGB provides to young people is only possible due to the donations that are often inspired by the imaginative fundraising activities of Freemasons.
This summer has witnessed prime examples of such imagination, with three incredible journeys being made to raise money for the RMTGB.
To mark the launch of the 2016 Festival, John Donoghue from the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight cycled over 500 miles to deliver Festival details to every masonic centre in the Province.
After four days of cycling, John said: ‘I thought it would be an eye-catching way to highlight the Festival and hope it marks the start of a successful period of fundraising for the RMTGB.’
John had previously donated a kidney to his daughter, making his journey even more remarkable. He is hoping his endeavours will raise in excess of £20,000 towards the Festival Appeal.
Manuel Mouzo and his son Sebastian walked the El Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage across northern Spain. Manuel, from Rochester in East Kent, said: ‘I had always wanted to make this spectacular journey and raising money for the RMTGB made the experience even more enjoyable.’
Their twenty-six-day journey has so far raised £1,000.
Buckinghamshire Freemasons organised the Rock Ride, a 1,500 mile cycle ride from Gibraltar to Stowe School. Nine cyclists took part in the journey which lasted fourteen days and involved climbs totalling twice the height of Mount Everest. As well as helping a number of other charities, the Rock Ride has so far raised over £22,000 for the 2010 Festival in support of the RMTGB.
Les Hutchinson, RMTGB Chief executive, commented: ‘These remarkable fundraising journeys show the charitable nature of Freemasonry at its very best. I am extremely grateful to everyone who raises funds for the RMTGB. We rely heavily on these important initiatives to support our lifechanging work, particularly during these difficult times.’
Go to www.rmtgb.org for further information about the work of the RMTGB and fundraising.
1975 Initiated into Fareham Lodge No. 8582
1987 Founding Master, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge
1989 Provincial Senior Grand Warden
1993 Past Assistant Grand Registrar
1998 Assistant Provincial Grand Master
1999 Past Senior Grand Deacon
2003 Deputy Provincial Grand Master
2004 Past Grand Sword Bearer