Sick, disadvantaged and disabled local children to benefit from £37K charity donation by the Freemasons – Province of Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons.

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Local charities including those that help a wide range of children that suffer from life-limiting and life-threatening conditions have received a boost by the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons who have donated a total of £37,410. The awards were made at a special event held at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester on the 28th April 2016 hosted by the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. David Hagger.

Two year old Junior, who was born with cerebral palsy, won the hearts of all those present as he determinedly walked the length of the room, with the aid of walking sticks, to collect a donation of £2,310 on behalf of the Brethren of Granite Lodge No.2028 and the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association (LRMCA) via the Tree of Hope Charity. Junior’s mum, Rosie said: “The kindness and generosity of the Freemasons has been extremely overwhelming and the donation will make a massive difference to Junior’s rehabilitation. Junior has recently undergone an operation which has enabled him to walk. The money will go towards transforming one of the rooms in our house into his very own physio room which will enable him to keep his strength and mobility going.” The Provincial Grand Master, David Hagger, said: We are full of admiration for Junior and Rosie and it has been very humbling to be able to support the family.”

Six nebulisers were presented to the Children’s Ward at the Leicester Royal Infirmary via the Asthma Relief Charity. These nebulisersare devices used to administer a solution of medication in the form of a fine mist for the patient to inhale, thus enabling them to breathe more easily. Each nebuliser will help 150 patients over a six-year life. Dhiraj Vara, Clinical Investigations Manager, said: “On behalf of the Trust and the Children’s Ward thank you to the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons. There is always a shortage of nebulisers on the wards so this will certainly help provide those therapies and therefore theyare going to make a big difference.”

Members of the Grey Friars Lodge No.6803 together with the LRMCA donated a total of £1,400 to the Leicestershire Royal Infirmary Children and Young People’s Cancer Unit to provide play equipment and materials together with updating medical equipment. Kamlesh Mistry, Community and Events Fundraising Manager at Leicester Hospitals Charity, said: “Thank you to the Grey Friars Lodge for raising a fantastic amount. The Children’s Cancer Unit at the Leicester Royal Infirmary really appreciate the money, so thank you from the kids, young adults, staff, and everyone on the wards.”

Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, based in Loughborough received a donation of £7,500 from the LRMCA. Chief Executive Andy Campbell said: “I would like to thank the Freemasons of Leicestershire and Rutland for their fantastic support. We support hundreds of children in the East Midlands with life limiting conditions but we only meet the needs of a fraction of these. Donations like this allow us to increase our services and reach those children we don’t get to.”

Philharmonia Orchestra received a donation of £2,000 for their Orchestra Unwrapped concert series. This series is for schoolchildren aged 7-11 living in Leicester and offers thousands of children the opportunity to experience live music in an engaging and exciting way, accompanied by the educational resources to fully understand it. Year four teacher Anthony Hibble from Mellor Community Primary school, who are involved in the Unwrapped Orchestra concerts, said: “A massive thank you on behalf of the Philharmonia Orchestra and all primary schools to the Freemasons. We are absolutely delighted. The concert exposes primary school children to a range of music that they would not usually come across. I know from all the out of school activities we go on, this has the most positive impact than anything else. The longer it continues the better.”

Funds of £1,500 were given to the Market Overton Play Area Association to assist in replacing play equipment after relocating to the nearby Lodge Trust Country Park. It’s aim is to create an inclusive family play area in Rutland. In order to meet the growing needs of inclusivity and accessibility for all we now need to relocate to, also in Market Overton. Upon receiving the donation, Lisa Barnett said: “A huge thank you to the Freemasons. We feel very honoured that you’ve chosen to support us. The play area has been real hub for families and children during the past 17 years. We felt that we needed to update it and made fully accessible and inclusive so that children with additional needs can enjoy it as well. The money will go towards funding equipment including a zip wire and a special swing.”

Forest Way School in Coalville were recipients of a £2,700 award from the Brethren of the Wayfarer Lodge No.8679 and the LRMCA. The school is a co-educational day area special school for 200 pupils aged 3-19 yeas old. They have a wide range of needs from moderate learning disabilities to profound and multiple learning difficulties. The money will go towards funding facilities to advance the education of pupils including outdoor learning in a woodland and horticultural area. The Deputy Headteacher, Gail Seaton, upon receiving the donation said: “A really big thank you to the Freemasons. Our students have a range of learning difficulties and this money will be spent on outdoor equipment as we think it is really important for students to learn outside. It will provide them with chances for them to interact and be successful.”

Ashmount Scouts, who are part of the Long Whatton and Diseworth Scout Group, were the beneficiaries of a £1,000 donation towards the purchase of two katakanus which are twin hulled and joined together to make a catamaran. These hold up to six people, are easy to paddle and very stable.

Charities supporting children were not the only ones receiving donations:

Broughton Astley Stroke Club, which provides support to stroke suffers, their families and carers,  received a total of £1,000 from the Gateway Lodge No.6513 and the LRMCA. Trustee, Margaret Bullock, said: “We are very grateful for the funding from the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons which will enable our stroke survivors an opportunity to get out of the house on extra outings during the year.”

Shopmobility, based in Market Harborough, was given £250 from St. Wilfrid’s Lodge No.8350. Chair of Shopmobility, Richard Keenan, said: “We provide mobility scooters to over 120 clients not just in Market Harborough but also in the villages. Thank you very much to the Freemasons as every penny goes a long way.”

St. Wilfrid’s Lodge No.8350 also donated £250 to The Well, Kibworth. Peter Hirst said: “We are Christian based community group for people of any faith or no faith and cover a wide range of activities including those for new mothers, teenage girls, dementia patients and carers. All this operates on a base of 40 volunteers and this donation is very welcome. Thank you very much to the St Wilfrid’s Lodge of Freemasons.”

VISTA, which provides a wide range of services and support to the blind in Leicestershire and Rutland, received a donation of £1,000 from the Lodge of the Argonauts No.8210 and the LRMCA. Nirmal Rajagopalan, Human Resources Director for VISTA, said: ”Thank you to the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Charity Association and the Lodge of the Argonauts for this very generous donation. Our services are across the age spectrum promising independence, dignity and social inclusion. This donation is essential to the work we do and fulfilment of our mission which is to improve the lives of people with sight loss.”

The Air Ambulance Service received a donation of £4,000 from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Chloe Bass, Trusts Officer, said on receiving the money: “Thank you very much to the Grand Charity for giving us this money. Locally we do around one thousand missions every year so it costs a substantial amount of money. As we don’t receive any government funding this donation is most gratefully received.”

PROSTaid, which provides information and counselling for all local prostate cancer and prostate disease suffers and their families received a donation of £7,500. Norman Bell from PROSTaid said: “A huge thank you to the brethren of Leicestershire and Rutland for the enormous amount which is very well received.” David Hames, a unique prostate cancer specialist nurse based at the Oncology Department at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, and is funded by PROSTaid. He said: “Thank you very much to the Freemasons for the donation. As a nurse, funded by PROSTaid, I couldn’t be in a more privileged role to be able to support men that are going through advanced prostate cancer and supporting their families.”

£1,000 was donated to Heartsafe Runners to provide heart resuscitation skills. Dr Ruth Green, who has set up the training programme via the Leicestershire charity Heartsafe, said: “As a runner, I was running in a cross country race and very sadly a 44 year old competitor collapsed and had a cardiac arrest. As a medic, I was able to apply CPR, and along with a defibrillator, successfully resuscitated him. As a result of the incident, Heartsafe Runners aims to train every runner in Leicestershire resuscitation skills. We are therefore very grateful for the cheque.”

St Anne’s Church, Western Park, Leicester was given £2,000 to assist with the redevelopment and refurbishment of their community hall. Cathy Harrell, Churchwarden, said: “Thank you to the Freemasons for this donation which is very much appreciated. St Anne’s Community Church Hall celebrated is centenary in 2014 and it is in desperate need of a rebuild.”

Home-Start Blaby, Oaby & Wigston received a donation of £1,000. Director of Home-Start Blaby, Oaby & Wigston, Sheila Major, said “The funding will go to the Mums In Mind project for ladies suffering from post natal depression. We run a series of two hour discussion groups for mums who are really struggling talking through various aspects of being a young mum. We are very grateful for this donation as we have lost all our County Council funding. However, the need does not go away.”

The Provisional Grand Master concluded the presentation event by saying: “On my behalf and behalf of the LRMCA thank you to the Brethren and Lodges. We very much appreciate the money that has been donated to various local charities. I’m proud and delighted that the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have been able to make a major contribution to society by supporting these worthwhile charities particularly those helping many children and young people in the local community.”


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