Harrogate Freemasons support local good causes

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Freemasons Ted Sanderson & Santokh Sidhu, Dee Swales (Principle Dancer), Charity Steward, John Birkenshaw, Freemasons Michael Baxter & Joe Cocker watched on by some of the dance group wearing their new coats.

The Harrogate & Claro Freemasons have been supporting local community groups by donating to good causes.

St. Aelred’s Irish Dance Group has been presented with a cheque for £1,150 by the Freemasons Lodge in support of their appeal to purchase coats to protect their expensive dance costumes.

Head of PE Emma Lewis, student Jack Goodsall, Charity Steward John Birkenshaw, student Rebecca Heanan, Head of Academy Ann Francis, Freemason Michael Baxter and Technician Joe Cocker

The dance group brings together girls and boys across Harrogate to enjoy and have fun learning Irish dancing and performs at local galas and fetes. The group celebrates its 40th Anniversary next year and has become so popular that there is a waiting list to join it.

Dee Swales, St. Aelred’s Principle Dancer and organiser of the group has been involved with the group for 22, when she joined the group as a child dancer. She said: “We are so grateful to the Freemasons for providing the funding for these coats which will protect the dancer’s expensive costumes in the event of adverse weather”.

Charity Steward for the lodge, John Birkenshaw, said:“I think local groups like this are really wonderful. They bring together local young boys and girls and provide them focus, discipline and sense of purpose at an important time in their life.”

Harrogate High School was also presented with a cheque for £500 by the Freemasons’ lodge in support of their appeal for a new defibrillator.

The school has been completely rebuilt and the new premises opened in February this year. Although funds were raised two years ago to install a defibrillator at the school, its brand new sports centre is in a separate building so school staff felt was important to have a second machine.

School technician, Joe Cocker, appealed to the Freemasons for help and Harrogate & Claro Lodge secured a grant from the Provincial Grand Master’s charity fund.

John Birkenshaw, said: “It’s great to be able to support local community groups and the purchase of this defibrillator may well save someone’s life one day.”

Staff and students at the Harrogate school have already received training in the use of the defibrillator.

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