Freemasons Help Launch Harrogate District Hospital’s Comfort Bags Initiative

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Bags of Support! Pictured from left are Michael Baxter, (Harrogate & Claro Freemasons; Laura Milburn, Lead Cancer Manager; Charlotte Rock; Palliative Care Team Leader; Satokh Sidu, Master of Harrogate & Claro Masonic Lodge; Sarah David, Clinical Nurse Specialist; John Birkenshaw, Charity Steward, Harrogate & Claro Lodge; and Beverley Harrison, Harrogate Hospital & Community Charity Administrator

Funding from the Freemasons has helped Harrogate District Hospital launch a “comforting” initiative for relatives of patients at the end of their lives.

Harrogate & Claro Freemasons Lodge secured £1,700 from the Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s Provincial Grand Master’s Charity Fund, to kick start the “Comfort Bags” scheme.

Set up by Harrogate District Hospital & Community Charity and Harrogate District Palliative Care Team, the bags are helping enhance both dignity and practical support throughout end of life for patients and their relatives, in the acute hospital setting.

Each year, more than 600 patients spend their last days and hours in the Harrogate District Hospital and Ripon Hospital.

The bags – which contains a blanket, travel pillow, toothbrush and toothpaste, tissues, notebook and pen, hand lotions and essential toiletries, a free meal voucher and a free parking permit – provide very practical items to help improve the comfort of relatives staying for long periods, or overnight with patients who are in the last days of life.

These are items they may well forget to bring with them when they’re in a hurry or didn’t expect to stay long.

Feedback from relatives has been very positive and grateful for the additional support this scheme has provided.

One relative said: At the moment my mum is receiving end of life care and last night I received one of your bags. It is a really thoughtful touch. Thank you!


John Birkenshaw, Charity Steward of Harrogate & Claro Lodge of Freemasons, said:

We are really proud to support this innovative scheme which will bring much needed comfort and support to both patients and relatives at a time when it is needed the most.


Initial funding was used to launch the bags, however ongoing funding is vital to continue to provide this service. Current projections suggest this will require approximately £5,000 per year to fund 300 comfort bags.

The donation of £1,700 from Harrogate Freemasons will make a set the scheme on a firm road ahead and the donation will be used to continue to fund the contents of the comfort bags.


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