Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £1,898 to Harry’s Rainbow, a Milton Keynes-based charity which supports siblings and parents who have suffered a child bereavement, to buy two much-needed laptop computers

The grant, which comes through the Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF), will provide new laptops which will allow more efficient assistance to bereaved children and allow them to continue to provide assistance to families experiencing these very challenging circumstances.

This small charity provides a wide range of assistance including memory boxes and monthly Rainbow Group meetings, which allows bereaved children to meet and talk with others in similar circumstances.

The meetings help to bolster self-esteem and help children realise it is ok to smile and have fun. Harry’s Rainbow also provides free caravan holidays and trips with the aim of helping families to create some new happy memories.

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £3,980 to the new Milton Keynes Cancer Centre, which will help provide all the furnishings and equipment for one of the single rooms

The donation comes via the BMCF (Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund), with the Cancer Centre due to admit its first patients in December 2019.

Buckinghamshire’s Assistant Provincial Grand Master Phil Blacklaw and BMCF representative Andrew Hough met with MK Hospital Trust fundraiser Paul Strong at the new Cancer Centre to see how work is progressing.

The new centre will provide treatment and a wide variety of support and information services for patients. The centre will also include a dedicated haematology-oncology ward for 24 in-patients including 16 single rooms with ensuite facilities. The centre will also allow a 22% increase in outpatient capacity and a 20% increase in haematology-oncology day cases.

The new facility will mean that far fewer patients will need to make difficult journeys to other hospitals and that their treatment and recovery will be in a state of the art centre, which has the capacity to allow patients dignity and privacy at a very difficult time.

Paul Strong, MK Hospital Trust fundraiser, commented: ‘We are extremely grateful for this donation from BMCF, which will pay for the furnishing and equipping of one of the single rooms on the in-patient ward. Also, just as importantly, having the backing of such a well-respected local organisation as the BMCF will help us to attract further support in the Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire area.’

Buckinghamshire Freemason Professor Christopher B-Lynch has had his photo displayed in The National Gallery in recognition of his distinguished career in obstetric and gynaecological medicine at Milton Keynes University Hospital

The National Gallery website outlines his professional life:Christopher B-Lynch has saved the lives of countless women worldwide, after developing and publishing (1997) a surgical technique, known as the B-Lynch Brace suture, which can halt postpartum haemorrhaging without the intervention of pelvic surgery, thus also potentially preserving fertility. An obstetrician and gynaecological surgeon, B-Lynch was educated at Oxford and St Bartholomew’s Medical College, London, where he graduated in medicine in 1973.

‘Following various appointments at Bart’s, Paris and Oxford, he became chief assistant to the Queen’s gynaecologist (1981-3). In 1984, he was appointed Consultant to the Oxford region, based at Milton Keynes University Hospital (NHS Trust), and set up the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology there. Lynch is also a Commissioner for the World Health Organisation for women’s health improvement in Africa, and after retiring from public medicine in 2010, he returned to his native Sierra Leone to teach medical students and doctors under the humanitarian organisation CapaCare. The President of Sierra Leone awarded him the GORSL (knighthood equivalent) for his work and charity internationally.’

Christopher is internationally renowned for his work in this discipline. He became a Freemason in 1983 when he joined London West Africa Lodge No. 5485 and Rahere Lodge No. 2546 in 1985, both in London, prior to becoming a member of St Giles Lodge No. 8555 in Buckinghamshire in 2016.

Rennie Grove Hospice Care have received a £800 donation from Buckinghamshire Freemasons

The grant comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and is part of a £600,000 grant made to 237 Hospices across England and Wales.

Buckinghamshire Freemason Peter Thomas (MCF Area Representative) presented the certificate to members of the Rennie Grove Hospice Care team, who are based in Tring.

Christine Goldsmith, Trust Fundraising Manager at the hospice, commented: ‘Thank you for the generous grant received from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

‘Your grant has enabled Rennie Grove Hospice Care to continue to support local people with life-limiting illnesses and their families across Herts and Bucks. This grant provides 32 hours of specialist care from a Rennie Grove Hospice at home nurse.’

To mark Ken Rayment’s 90th birthday on 28th February 2019, the Manor Class of Masonic Instruction members, both old and new, came along to celebrate his special day

Ken has been involved with the Manor Class of Masonic Instruction for 32 years and is the current Chairman.

Manor class is a weekly class of instruction at the Bletchley Masonic Centre, which is open to all Freemasons and assists them to learn and develop their emulation ritual. They practice a different degree ceremony each week. 

Although Ken is a member of Post Curam Otium No. 4921 in London, he resides in Buckinghamshire.

Alongside enjoying a birthday buffet, Ken was presented with a fine 15-year-old Malt Whiskey and an engraved glass to commemorate this milestone. Buckinghamshire Freemason Colin Milton also produced a framed certificate of thanks.

Ken's masonic knowledge knows no bounds, and he can usually answer the most obscure questions without even referring to his extremely well-worn and ritual book.

Heart of Bucks, the Community Foundation for Buckinghamshire, has been able to award a grant for £4,830 to Black Park Shed – thanks to a donation of £3,799 from the Buckinghamshire Masonic Grass Roots Fund

The Black Park Shed, which is located within the Black Park Country Park in Wexham, Buckinghamshire, is a newly established organisation which has been set up to meet the needs of those in the local area. It aims to combat the negative effects of isolation and loneliness on a person’s health and wellbeing.

Shed members are often retired or unemployed and welcome the opportunity to share experience, knowledge and skills in a safe and enjoyable environment. As well as the friendship and company, there is the opportunity to work on creative projects of benefit to both the individual and community.

The funding has helped them to create a meeting place that is fit for purpose and safe and, going forward, members will be able to raise funds by repairing items or making items for sale.

Les Stone,'Black Park Shed Treasurer commented: 'Black Park Shed are now able to plan for their future in a building which will be the heart of all our meetings and activities. We now have the opportunity to take in more members and grow over the coming years.

'Without this funding we could have struggled to get past the initial stages of establishing ourselves and may have even failed to get off the ground. We thank you for your support.'

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £400 to Florence Nightingale Hospice, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), as part of a £600,000 grant made to 237 Hospices across England and Wales

Peter Thomas, MCF area representative, presented the certificate to Jo Turner, CEO of the charity, which is based in Aylesbury.

Jo commented: ‘Thank you very much to the MCF and to Peter for delivering this generous donation.’

The hospice, which is now celebrating its 30th anniversary, has an in-house service and day hospice service. It also has ‘Florries’ which is a service specialising in supporting children with life limiting illnesses, and their families, in their own homes – the donation has been earmarked for this very important support.

Buckinghamshire Freemasons have donated £1,000 to help a young boy from High Wycombe receive the physiotherapy needed to ensure he will be able to walk

Jenson is three years old and was born prematurely weighing just 2lb 5 oz. As he grew, it became apparent that he was not reaching the usual developmental milestones and his parents received the devastating news that he had cerebral palsy.

His condition meant that he was unable to walk and he suffered from painful tightness in the muscles. Although there is a newly developed operation which can relieve the tightness and potentially allow him to walk unaided available on the NHS, he would need many years of physiotherapy sessions which are not funded to achieve the maximum benefit. His parents immediately set about trying to raise the £30,000 potential cost.

Step forward Tom Davies, a local Freemason who has known Jenson’s mum, Vicky, all her life. Through the sale of used masonic regalia, he was able to make the donation of £1,000 which brings the current total to £19,000 for the physio sessions which will have a fundamental impact on his life.  

Read more about the fundraising for Jenson.

Grand Union Lodge No. 9641 in Buckinghamshire has presented a cheque for £1,500 to Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is dedicated to supporting children and young people who have lost a parent whilst serving in the British Armed Forces. Inspired by the experience of Army widow Nikki Scott, following the death of her husband Cpl Lee Scott in Afghanistan in 2009, the charity is currently providing assistance to hundreds of bereaved Forces children around the UK.

Nikki and Lee have two children, Kai and Brooke, so Nikki saw first-hand the effect the loss of a loved one in these circumstances can have on a child. It was on a family holiday some nine months after Lee was killed that Nikki saw her son Kai, five at the time, laugh and smile for the first time since his dad’s death.

She realised that there must be so many more children who had also lost a parent serving in the British Armed Forces, but hadn’t had that opportunity to smile again. As a result, Nikki decided to set up the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers to do just that – to help children smile.

Support offered to the children includes fun activities such as holiday breaks and group events, personal development assistance through educational grants and access to professional bereavement counselling.

The Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund (BMCF) awarded £3,200 for the purchase of a trailer for Alfriston School's minibus to enable them to provide invaluable experiences for their girls to learn to face personal challenges in unfamiliar and testing environments

Mike Clanfield, Buckinghamshire's Provincial Charity Steward, went to the school in Beaconsfield to meet the teachers and girls that will be using it.

Alfriston School is a special school for girls with learning difficulties and their main aim is to help their girls to gain the confidence and skills needed to be able to enjoy and participate in life as contributing adults. 

Alfriston School's Headteacher Jinna Male commented: 'This trailer is being used to take our girls out of their home environments on expeditions and trips.

'Some of our girls are learning to ride a bike, and we have taken the mountain bikes out to the woods to give them an exciting and inspiring setting in which to learn. Others have been on residential adventurous trips such as the New Forest, where the trailer has been used to take the large and expansive equipment needed. 

'Our older girls are practicing for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the trailer is much needed in taking their camping and other kit needed to support this. Our curriculum can now include a wider and more varied programme of adventurous and outdoor activities that will develop their personal attributes such as resilience, perseverance and co-operation to equip them for life beyond Alfriston.'

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