Members of Coningsby Lodge No.6383, known as the `Weekenders’, have raised £360 to support the emergency operations of Longtown Mountain Rescue Team
Longtown Mountain Rescue Team, which is based in the shadow of the Black Mountains and consists of some fifity volunteers, undertakes in excess of thirty search and evacuation missions each year in liaison with other emergency services, particularly RAF Search & Rescue (SARF) and Midlands Air Ambulance.
Chairman of the Longtown Team, Mike Jones, stressed the importance of community and public support to meet the £15,000 annual cost of maintaining this vital public service, and applauded Herefordshire Freemasons for the donations received by both the Mountain Rescue Team and Midlands Air Ambulance.
Gordon Bumfrey, Coningsby Lodge's Charity Steward, with first-hand experience of the expertise of the Longtown Team, said he was privileged to be given the opportunity, on behalf of Herefordshire Freemasons, to support such a worthy, crucial and indispensible local service.
At the annual meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Herefordshire, Rodney Smallwood, Provincial Grand Master, presented Midlands Air Ambulance with grants totalling in excess of £50,000. This represented money raised and given by local Freemasons over a three year period.
An additional £12,000 was also presented to Midlands Air Ambulance by the Provincial Grand Masters of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, on behalf of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. This donation is part of over £1 million donated by the Grand Charity since 2007 to air ambulances and similar rescue charities throughout England and Wales to support them in the delivery of their life-saving services.
Annie Newell, Fundraising Manager for Midlands Air Ambulance, on receiving these donations, expressed her sincere gratitude for the commitment, and generous support given to the charity by Freemasons over the years.
Rodney Smallwood emphasised how “Midlands Air Ambulance plays a vital role in our rural community, and without either government or National Lottery funding, their services are in need of support. Helping local projects and such services, is important to Freemasons as these donations demonstrate. It is with a sense of pride that the masonic Square & Compass logo is displayed on the tail fins of the three distinctively coloured red and yellow Midlands Air Ambulance helicopters as they take to the air on their mercy missions.”
Herefordshire Freemason Kip Waisell and his wife Carmen are intrepid travellers for charity
They began in 2005 when they drove two new 125cc scooters back from Almaty in Kazakhstan, raising £5,000 for Macmillan Cancer Care. Two years later they travelled from Peking to Paris in a 750cc 1930 Austin Seven Chummy. They completed the journey of some 7,800 miles in 46 days and raised £10,000 for UNICEF, which was used to buy mosquito nets for Kenyan children.
The couple raised a further £500 for the Hereford Historic Churches Trust and £900 for St Michael’s Hospice, Hereford, with talks about their travels. For the hat-trick, Kip and his wife Carmen decided to repeat the Peking to Paris challenge, but taking a slightly different route, Carmen driving a 1930 Austin Seven while Kip travelled in a 1928 Austin Seven Ulster.
This time money was raised for Smile Train, the cleft lip and palate charity, visiting their clinics en route. Smile Train has benefited by over £9,000 to date, with £150 transforming a child’s life in an operation that takes just 45 minutes.
The recently registered charity appeal ROBOCAP, which uses state-of-the-art robotic technology treatment for prostate cancer, was officially launched in Herefordshire, in an event organised by local Freemason Howard Pitts.
Appeal chairman Les Kinmond introduced the three consultant urologists of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, Graham Sole, Biral Patel and Aloysius Okeke. They described this advanced form of keyhole surgery, which offers surgeons three-dimensional imaging and magnification in order to give greater precision and allow for minimally invasive surgery with the reduced incidence of complications.
Cllr Olwyn Barnett, chairman of Herefordshire Council, urged local mayors to support this appeal, and local mason Brian Wilcox, Mayor-elect for Hereford City, said that ROBOCAP would be his official charity during his term of office.
The recently registered charity appeal “Robocap”, aimed at providing a `da Vinci’ surgical system which uses the latest state-of-the-art robotic technology treatment for prostate cancer, was officially launched at the delightful Herefordshire setting of How Caple Court. The event was organised by Fundraiser Howard Pitts, with a number of Herefordshire Masons in attendance.
The Chairman of the appeal, Les Kinmond, introduced the three Consultant Urologists of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire - Graham Sole, Biral Patel and Aloysius Okeke. They spoke with enthusiasm and commitment about this most advanced form of key hole surgery which offers surgeons superior 3D HD imagining and magnification, great precision and optimal performance of minimally invasive surgery, and reduced incidence of complications.
Such robotic assisted surgery is the fastest growing treatment for prostate cancer, a system which could also be developed for surgical work on the kidney and bladder.
35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in England and Wales. 800 local operations are carried out annually in the 3CCN area of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and south Worcestershire.
Cllr Olwyn Barnett, Chairman Herefordshire Council, issued a rallying call to all Herefordshire Town Mayors elect, to support this major appeal. Cllr Brian Wilcox Mayor elect for Hereford city, had already indicated his wish to make Robocap his official charity during his term of office.
VW Bro The Reverend David Bowen, Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, welcomed the opportunity given to local Freemasons to be in the vanguard of this public appeal.
Allan Lloyd, campaigning for access to radiotherapy cancer treatment at Hereford, supported the opinion that such robotic surgery was “the biggest development in surgery over the last 50 years and of immeasurable benefit “.
The initial target of £400,000 would allow delivery and installation of the unit. The full cost of the robotic system is £1.6 million. It is probable that the site for this advanced form of surgery would be Cheltenham.
Red Cross support at home
Herefordshire Freemasons have again given support to the British Red Cross and their proven Support at Home Service. This scheme provides short-term care and support in the home for predominantly older people after an accident, illness, or stay in hospital, giving them confidence to continue their daily lives.
In presenting the donation to Mike Crowe, Service Development Manager for Herefordshire Red Cross, W Bro David Knowles, Provincial Grand Charity Steward, was taken on a tour of the relatively new premises in Harrow Road, Plough Lane. He praised the staff and volunteers for the notable number of local people supported by this service at home.
David Knowles was also impressed by the other wide range of services available from the loan of medical equipment such as wheelchairs, to door-to-door transport and therapeutic care.
Judith Topping, one of the Support at Home Service Co-ordinators, mentioned the important role played by the Herefordshire Village Warden scheme in association with the British Red Cross. By introducing people to a friendly, knowledgeable and independent village warden, welcome assistance is provided from within their own local community to the benefit of all concerned.
David Knowles emphasised the commitment of Herefordshire Freemasons in supporting such local charity projects as the British Red Cross Support at Home Service.
'Gypsy' is the 20 year old horse supported by the Herefordshire Freemasons at the Riding for the Disabled Association's Herefordshire riding school at Holme Lacy. When competing at the National Dressage Centre Hartpury College in Gloucester, it goes under it's full name of 'Hereford Masons Gypsy'.
In presenting the annual donation to the Janet Alderton, Centre Manager, Rodney Smallwood, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire, again praised the RDA for its wonderful and significant work with the disabled, and paid tribute to the 130 volunteers involved.
Rodney Smallwood was informed that there would shortly be an addition to the 14 horses in the stables at Holme Lacy: a sponsored mechanical horse was soon to be installed which would enhance the flexibility of exercise and experience possible for those who use the service, whose ages range from 2 to that of 90 years old.
A sponsored walk across central Wales has raised £3,600 towards the purchase of two Ambulatory Infusion Pumps for patient use at the Hereford Macmillan Renton Cancer Unit.
Freemasons Colin Tudor and his walking companion Ian Talboys, as well as trustee Cliff Burkett, presented the equipment to chemotherapy staff nurse Helen Blundell and Macmillan cancer support facilitator Alison Stemp at the cancer unit in Hereford Hospital.
The donation is the latest in the continued support of Hereford Hospital by Hereford Freemasons. Colin Tudor has agreed to relate his experiences during his recent and successful course of cancer treatment to fellow patients about to commence their own treatment. Alison Stemp described Colin as ‘inspirational – an example to others’.
When Hereford Cathedral gave thanks for the restoration of the Cathedral Close, it marked the fact in the printed Service of Celebration that Herefordshire masons were among the 15 acknowledged contributors to the work of restoration
The entries underline the support by Freemasons throughout the ages, making specific reference to the remodelling of the west front in 1908 following its collapse over a century earlier ‘which was made possible through the generosity of local Freemasons under the leadership of Dean James Leigh’.
The Very Reverend Hon. James Wentworth Leigh was Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire 1906-1923, and the Dean Leigh Masters’ Lodge was consecrated in December 1923. The west front of the cathedral has a representation of Dean James Leigh and a display of many masonic emblems. A donation of £15,000 from the Province and The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has been agreed for the Cathedral Refurbishment project.
In the winter sunshine, a donation of £2,772 was presented to St Michael’s Hospice as part of the continuing annual programme of support awarded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity to hospice services throughout England and Wales. Freemasons have a long tradition of funding adult and children’s hospices, with the Grand Charity donating £9.3 million since 1984.
This ongoing support is of special significance to St Michael’s Hospice, Bartestree, as it continues to raise much needed awareness of the planned refurbishment and re-development of the Hospice which will maintain the Hospice’s national and international recognition as a provider of Specialist Palliative Care, and regional centre of excellence in the delivery of Palliative Care Education.
Individual Masonic Lodges in the Province of Herefordshire give additional support to St Michael’s Hospice throughout the year following the example and wishes of Right Worshipful Brother Rodney Smallwood, Provincial Grand Master for Herefordshire.
With only 10% of its expenditure received from the Primary Care Trust, St Michael’s Hospice has to raise over £3.5 million annually through charitable giving. Such is the responsibility of Ruth Denison, Head of Fundraising, and Chief Executive Nicky West.