Taking the lead with canine partners
Canine Partners helps people with disabilities to enjoy greater levels of independence by providing assistance dogs. The charity has received a £50,000 grant from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity for its new Midlands training centre based at Osgathorpe in Leicestershire. Leicestershire and Rutland PGM David Hagger said, ‘We are very happy to make this substantial grant to Canine Partners to help improve the training facilities at the centre here in Leicester. The joy and practical support these dogs bring to their owners is life-changing and invaluable.’ A new building will provide accessible accommodation for all attendees, enabling Canine Partners to train around 80 individuals each year.
Blood test for Alzheimer’s
The expert research team, led by Professor Simon Lovestone at the University of Oxford, want to tackle the disease by developing a simple blood test. The MSF provided the donation following a poll of local masons who nominated the charity to receive a grant from the Silver Jubilee Research Fund. Alzheimer’s Research UK is one of 13 medical research charities awarded an MSF grant last year at a total cost of £1.125 million.
The donation was presented to Professor Lovestone by Oxfordshire PGM James Hilditch in October at the Nuffield Department of Medicine Research Building in Oxford.
County council honours local masons
The great work of Freemasons from the Provinces of East and West Lancashire has been praised by Lancashire County Council at a specially organised reception at County Hall, Preston.
Cllr Margaret Brindle, Lancashire County Council chairman, welcomed masonic representatives from across the county and thanked them ‘for the voluntary, charitable and fundraising work done throughout Lancashire to support a range of important and needy causes’.
Dorset help for Thai school
When Tony Birch married his wife Anan he did not imagine that he would end up adopting a failing school in Thailand, or that friends and members of Amphibious Lodge, No. 9050, in Dorset would help restore and support that school.
Anan comes from a remote village called Todnoy, near the Cambodian border. Seven years ago its village school was in disrepair and close to shutting down.
With masonic help, Tony has protected the education of these children, and what began as a rundown one-room shack is now a three-classroom school with a canteen, kitchen and washing facilities.
The right response
The Bucks Masonic Centenary Fund has donated the cost of a volunteer emergency kit to Community First Responders, an emergency service that is often first on the scene of an incident. At £1,500 each, the kits contain equipment that is necessary for emergency life-saving action and trauma treatment.
Marc Lister, community liaison and training officer for South Central Ambulance Service, said, ‘Currently there are over 60 new volunteers in our area so there is a need for more volunteer emergency kits, and these require funding.’
Plain sailing for Jubilee Trust
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Provincial Grand Master Mike Wilks had a special mission when he boarded the sailing vessel Tenacious at Southampton Docks: to present the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s (JST) chief executive Duncan Souster with a cheque for £15,000 from the Grand Charity.
The donation will be used for the JST’s Buddy Bursary scheme, which funds sailing expeditions for both disabled and able-bodied people, promoting equality by teaching them how to crew a tall ship together, sharing challenges and celebrating their individual differences. Since the JST began in 1978, more than 40,000 people have set sail to destinations including Tenerife and Costa Rica.
Launched 15 years ago, the Tenacious is one of two tall ships used by the group – the only tall ships in the world designed so they can be sailed by a crew with widely varied sensory and physical abilities, including wheelchair users.
A centenary of medical care
The history of the Royal Masonic Hospital and the work done by its staff is the subject of the latest exhibition in the Library and Museum
The First World War created a host of new charitable causes for which Freemasons and their lodges raised funds. The health and care grants that are provided today have their origins in the work of the Freemasons’ War Hospital in London’s Fulham Road. The hospital accepted its first 60 patients in September 1916 and treated over 4,000 members of the armed forces during the course of the war.
The premises reopened as the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home in 1919, providing care for 46 inpatients who were Freemasons, their wives or dependent children. Having outgrown its original site, in 1933 the hospital moved to Ravenscourt Park. The new building was opened by King George V and Queen Mary, and renamed the Royal Masonic Hospital.
Staff at the hospital pioneered many modern medical treatments, and it was known for its nurses’ training. The Wakefield Wing, with new physiotherapy and pathology departments, accommodation for nurses, and a chapel, opened in 1958, and a new surgical wing in 1976. When the hospital closed, its Samaritan Fund, which helped Freemasons afford private treatment, was taken on by the Masonic Samaritan Fund.
The exhibition opens spring 2016 and can be visited Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm
Dame Esther Rantzen in Lifelites video
The national children’s technology charity Lifelites has launched a fundraising video campaign featuring its latest patron, television presenter and broadcaster Dame Esther Rantzen.
Last year Lifelites was a 2015 Nominet Trust 100 winner, and is the only charity to provide assistive and inclusive technology packages for terminally ill and disabled children in hospices across the British Isles.
Dame Esther is featured in Lifelites’ latest awareness video, shown speaking to staff and young people at children’s hospices about the impact of the charity’s donation.
East Lancashire festival triumph
East Lancashire masons held an end-of-Festival banquet at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium to celebrate raising more than £2.6 million for the RMBI. Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes and Bolton’s mayor, Cllr Carole Swarbrick, attended.
PGM Sir David Trippier said that despite one of the worst economic depressions since the war, which had hit the region hard, the amount raised per capita was much higher than during the previous Festival. Entertainment on the night was provided by the Opera Boys, guitarist Neil Smith and the band of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
New approach to child protection
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Warwickshire has obtained a £47,500 grant from the Grand Charity for a new approach to detecting and preventing abuse of young children.
The grant is for the salary of a clinical psychologist, who will head up the implementation of the New Orleans Intervention Model, which works with infants under five years old who are in care, aiming to safely reunify them with their biological parents where possible.
The aim is to protect and promote the mental health of infants by working with their key care relationships, including both biological parents and foster carers.