There were happy smiles all round when the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Devonshire Nick Ball and Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Peter Keaty and Craig Cox met recently to celebrate the happy occasions of the birth of their granddaughters, Eadie Violet, Eleanor and Tilly; who were all born within a matter of weeks of each other
Their gathering was also an opportunity to celebrate the news that the Devonshire Teddies For Loving Care (TLC) appeal has achieved registered charity status with the Charity Commission and HM Revenue & Customs, and to support the work of TLC.
The Teddies For Loving Care appeal started in 2001 in the Province of Essex but quickly grew to become a national initiative, entirely funded by Freemasons and their families who also volunteer their time to run the scheme.
The objective of the initiative is to provide teddy bears for staff in medical and other care establishments to give to young children in distress following a trauma or sickness in order to help relieve suffering and reduce the shock and distress of their experience. The bears are not only used by medical staff to help reduce the children's stress and fear levels, but also to reward them for being brave, and in some cases, explain and demonstrate medical procedures. Every child that receives a teddy gets to keep it to take home.
In Devonshire the initiative started in 2008 under local Devon coordinator John Adcock supported by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W. Bro. Christopher Yard. In recent years, the initiative has grown from strength to strength under the direction of Keith Bower, supported by Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Charles Yelland.
In the Province of Devonshire, an amazing 59,000 teddy bears have been donated to 11 hospital accident and emergency units at Derriford, Torbay, RD&E and North Devon hospitals and children’s wards, children’s specialist care units and children’s hospices’ right across the Province.
Support and enthusiasm for the initiative continues to grow in Devonshire and so it was decided earlier this year that the initiative would benefit from being reshaped into a charitable trust so that registered charity status could be achieved to further develop a regional focus across the Province.
Registered charity status was granted by the Charity Commission and accepted by HMRC in August 2020 with one of the immediate benefits of registration being that donations can now be made under the Gift Aid scheme which boosts every £1 donated by a further 25p.