What makes this Local West Lancashire Freemason stand tall?
Andy Reid is a Freemason and a steward of Bryn Lodge No 6553 meeting at Bryn Masonic Hall, Ashton-in-Makerfield, in the Wigan Group. If you ever meet him, your first impression is, big quiet man.
What doesn’t come across immediately is his resolution to help the military veterans, young carers, fostered children over 18 years old and people with learning and mental health issues in the community of St Helens and the surrounding area. He wants to give all these people the ‘best friend’ they never had and a mentor to show them the way.
The foundation ‘Standing Tall’, was created when Andy had recovered from the October 2009 explosion in Helmand Province. Corporal Andy Reid had been blown up after 15 years serving with the 3rd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment by a Taliban improvised explosive device while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was injured so badly that it was thought he would not survive, but he defied the odds to the extent that within a month, he was able to meet up with members of his patrol again.
In his own words: 'I’m a survivor, not a victim'. Through his associations with many different organisations including Freemasonry, Andy realised that there are many deserving causes which he would like to give benefit to on a more direct, practical level and work to raise funds for his foundation to provide ground level interventions across a wide portfolio of causes and engage with training providers and recruitment companies to seek pathways to work for the disadvantaged and encourage self worth in the individual.
Through his Foundation, he is able to bring military veteran mentors and young people together to help each other and with people like Terry Bates on board. Formerly of the Royal Navy and a qualified trainer, Terry provides support, training, mentoring and health and wellbeing courses, with the hope everybody attending sets off on the road to the rest of their career.
After 10 years hard work, he was honoured to be recognised and awarded the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list, and so it is that William Andrew Reid MBE has gone on to work tirelessly with fellow Freemason John Tabern, Immediate Past Master of Bryn Lodge and Terry Bates, 35 years in the Royal Navy.
Andy explained that through the determination that has seen him overcome huge personal battles, he is now able to change corporate mindsets using his powerful and inspirational presentations about self belief and the power of goal setting. As he says: 'These are real people, with real needs, not just a set of statistics and I aim to use my Foundation to help meet those needs, hopefully with the help of Freemasonry.'
Andy’s war may be over, but his campaigning continues, his work on foundation awareness and the fight for social issues, including homelessness, debt management, relationships and mental health are in a direct response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Foundation has already engaged in an initiative with Leon House Clinic to offer free mental health support for any NHS and Care staff in the St Helens and Knowsley Authority, delivered on line via Zoom by some of the best trauma counsellors in the UK.