Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire

Charity in Action – a True Story! Schools for Gambia - In association with St Phillips Lodge No 5580

Schools for Gambia is a small charity, which over the past twenty five years has built 21 schools and provided educational resources to many more. The charity relies mainly upon donations from community groups, with a major donor being the staff, parents and children of Clifton Primary School in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. The Chair of Governors also happens to be the wife of a member of St Philips Lodge, 5580 and she was given an opportunity to describe the work of the charity at a Lodge social gathering.

As a result, members of St Philip’s Lodge and the Warwickshire Installed Master Lodge 2016 Ladies Festival generously undertook additional fundraising activities which led to Schools for Gambia receiving support, as well as our own Masonic Charities.

In November, 2017 St Philip’s Lodge heard about what had been able to be provided through Masonic generosity. KristiKunda Lower Basic School is situated in an isolated village in The Gambia. When it was built by Schools for Gambia three years ago, it was the first time since the Missionary Station closed some 50 years ago, that children were able to attend school. Through masonic generosity, children now also have age appropriate educational resources.

A classroomPupils at KristiKunda with books provided by
contributions from Masonic charity collections

Such is the success of the school, that the Alkala (the village chief), has identified that additional classrooms are needed!

Whilst on a support visit early in 2017, the head teacher raised a specific concern with Schools for Gambia . A 12 year old boy had recently become a pupil. He had never been to school before, as he was expected to become a nomadic herdsman, like his father. Some 2 ½ years ago he had had an accident playing football. The nearest hospital was a half-day travel away and by the time he arrived, it was too late to save his leg. After an above knee amputation, a temporary artificial leg was fitted before he was discharged. Since then, his parents had not been able to afford for him to have a more appropriate artificial leg. And he had grown! His ‘temporary’ leg was now much too short. The boy, Essa, walked some 3 kilometres to school every day – he had never been late, but the stress of walking with such an inappropriate leg, meant that he was sobbing with back pain by the time he arrived at school. Could Schools for Gambia fund a bicycle for him?

The head teacher of Clifton Primary School donated the funds for the bicycle, but the real problem was that Essa needed an appropriate artificial leg.

Fortunately, St Philip’s Lodge had organised a ‘Ladies to Dine’ Christmas lunch. W Bro Michael Fry made a special charity request – and this, together with support from other local community groups, meant that within a month, sufficient funding had been obtained for Essa to have his new leg.

Last week, Essa and his parents made the two days journey to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Banjul – where there is the only prosthetic facility in the Gambia. Two days of extensive training has enabled him to throw away his crutches and walk unaided on his new leg. And he is delighted that he now has a new pair of trainers!



Schools in Gambia School in Gambia

New Trousers

Essa, in November 2017 was a withdrawn, depressed boy. There was no eye contact - he looked at the floor, not at people.

Essa in February 2018 was a sparkling boy, with a beaming smile and happy to hang on to your hand. It was inspirational to see him throw away his crutch and walk tall on his new leg. He is also rapidly acquiring English – ‘It is good’; ‘new leg, new leg; ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’.

Truly, a wonderful example of masonic benevolence in action!

Michael Fry
WM 5580

 

Warwickshire Freemasons Support Guy’s Gift

Guy's Gift

Support for bereaved children, young people and their families in Warwickshire

Jackie and Stuart Potter, Founders of Guy’s Gift said a big thank you to the Freemasons of The Lodge of Unity No 567, who are based at Alderson House, High Street Warwick, for their generous donation of £4,625.

Guy’s Gift delivers bereavement support for children and young people throughout Warwickshire. Their early intervention service is open to 5 to 18 year olds and tackles a range of emotional concerns, preventing them from escalating and also helping individuals to achieve their potential and continue their lives in a meaningful way.

Since they started of their work, in 2009, they have gone from being a pilot scheme, to a fully fledged bereavement service, helping hundreds of children and young people across the county. They take the approach that by helping the child, they are helping the family as a whole.

Their small, professional team of 5 includes 3 counsellors, who are helped by more than 20 trained volunteers. They draw on a range of specialist skills to provide support options to help children, young people and their families.

They have a telephone helpline that is available to parents, carers and other professionals, such as teaching staff, who may come into contact with bereaved children and young people through their work. Anyone is welcome to call the helpline, either for advice or to refer a child to us for support.

They can be contacted on 0845 467 3035

Cheque presentation

Pictured above are – Founders of Guy's Gift, Stuart Potter and Jackie Potter, Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Unity, W Bro Seb Samperi,  Mrs Kerry Samperi, Service Manager at Guy's Gift, Lisbeth Bakewell and Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Peter Manning.

Abbey Lodge Supports the Mary Ann Evans Hospice

Abbey Lodge No 432, one of the oldest Lodges in Warwickshire, meeting in Nuneaton, adopted the Mary Ann Evans Hospice in Nuneaton as their chosen charity for 2017. Nominated by the then Worshipful Master, W Bro Michael Buckenham, the hospice provides end of life care together with respite care throughout the communities of North Warwickshire.

During 2017 a number of successful social events took place, culminating in a Ladies Evening in October at which over £500.00 was raised.  In February 2018, W Bro Michael together with the Lodge Almoner W Bro David Pettifor visited the Hospice and were met by the Chief Executive Mrs Elizabeth Hancock and Mrs Sara Kerr, Senior Healthcare Assistant, and given a tour of the care and end of life facilities.

Presentation of the cheque

Afterwards a cheque for £1550.00 was presented by W Bro Buckenham to the Charity on behalf of Abbey Lodge. Mrs Hancock was especially grateful to Abbey Lodge who have supported the Hospice over the last twenty years.

Since this presentation, W Bro Michael Buckenham has become the Lodge Almoner, and W Bro David Pettifor is assisting him in his new role.

Master of the Lodge of Grace raises funds for Heartlands Neonatal Unit

The Lodge of Grace has raised an incredible £7,000 for Heartlands Neonatal Unit.

Master of the Lodge of Grace, W Bro Paul Palmer raised the money after his granddaughter, Hollie, was born with a rare condition requiring a stay at the Neonatal Unit after her birth. The condition, called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, meant that Hollie’s diaphragm didn’t develop properly leaving a small hole, which caused her stomach and bowels to move into the space and limit the growth of her lungs.

Presentation to the Neonatal unit

He said: “Although it was hard to see her in the Unit, it was amazing to see the care and constant monitoring that the doctors and nurses gave Hollie.”

Paul, together with the other members of the Lodge, raised the funds by holding a garden party at his home in Coleshill, and by having a Ladies Night at Nailcote Hall in Berkswell.

“Hollie is six now, and I am so happy to see that she is running around just like any other little girl.”

Sian Averill, Fundraising Manager at Heartlands Hospital said: “Thank you to Paul and the Lodge of Grace for raising such a fantastic amount for the Neonatal Unit, the Unit looks after thousands of premature and poorly babies every year, and these funds will help the Charity to continue to go over and above to ensure every child has the best care.”

To learn more about the Newborns in Need appeal go to heft.org.uk/newbornsinneed

Athelstan braves the weather to raise a brother

What a wonderful night for Brother Andy Hollis of Athelstan Lodge No 1333.

Thursday March 1st was the night Andy was to be Raised.

Snow, wind, freezing temperatures and almost impassable roads.

But, 42 Members and 8 visitors braved the conditions to see a superb Third Degree Ceremony, conducted by the Past Masters of the Lodge.

All 50 stayed to enjoy an excellent Festive Board afterwards, and turned what could have been a mini disaster into an excellent evening.

A credit to everyone who attended on such an awful night.

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The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
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The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasons within England and Wales and districts overseas.