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Freemasons cheques support food bank and disabled riding charity

Members of Lodge St George No 503 handing over a donation to the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank

HELENSBURGH’S Freemasons have marked the 150th anniversary of the movement coming to the town by presenting cheques worth a total of more than £1,000 to two local good causes.

Members of the Lodge St George Helensburgh No 503 handed over donations recently of £650 to the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank and £400 to the Gareloch Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

The lodge’s members have been collecting items to donate to the food bank during the pandemic, with the help of local Slimming World consultants Jo Nairn and Bernadette McPartland, who hold regular sessions at the West Princes Street venue.

Members of Lodge St George No 503 handing over a donation to the Gareloch RDA

A total of £250 was raised among members of Lodge St George 503, with a further £250 coming from members of the Royal Arch Chapter Helensburgh No. 522 and an additional £150 from the Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes’ Neptune Lodge No. 9704.

Duncan McKillop, Right Worshipful Master of the lodge, said: “It’s great when people pull together in a common cause and it’s amazing the results that can be achieved through a simple act.”

Thanking those who made donations, Susan Davidson from the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, who attended the presentation with fellow volunteer Barbara MacDonald, added: “The donations were very welcome as the pandemic has increased the number of people who require assistance from the food bank over the last year, no doubt caused by the fall out from the present Covid crisis of the forced and necessary lockdowns, furlough and the loss of employment.”

The cheque was handed over by Mr McKillop and his fellow freemasons Michael Board and Joseph McKie, who presented a donation on the same day to Kate Bennett from the Gareloch RDA.

Kate said: “It has been a long year and any funding is most welcome.

“It costs a bit of money to look after the horses and maintain the facility, and with no supplementary income coming in due to the pandemic and lockdown, it’s been very hard.

“But our volunteers have continued with the hope that when all gets back to some sort of normality, the facility will be ready to operate at full capacity.”

The cheque was handed over after Duncan, Michael and Joseph received a tour of the facilities offered by the branch at the Colgrain Equestrian Centre, where it provides therapy, fitness and skills development for people with a variety of disabilities in Helensburgh and Lomond and beyond.

The group was able to watch a session showing how the branch helps three members with different needs.

Duncan said: “It was most pleasurable to be able to see the hard work and dedication that Kate and her staff put in to ensure that each and every person receives a worthwhile experience.

“It only consolidates that it was a good choice to support such a fantastic organisation and we wish them well for the future.”