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Woolmer Forest Lodge Charity

Last October saw the culmination of the Hampshire & IoW 2016 Festival, supporting the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. The total raised from the six years of fundraising was a magnificent £7,746,319.00. Of that total, Woolmer Forest Lodge donated £36,415.00, well above the average donated by the 253 Lodges in our Province…. I will leave you to work out what the average was!

Now that the Festival is over, we are all concentrating our efforts on supporting local Charities & Organisations. 2017 is the Tercentenary of Freemasonry and this year, to celebrate our 300 years; the Hampshire & IoW Freemasons are holding a number of Charity Events.

Our Province is divided into six areas. We are in the North East Area and will be holding two events, one at Farnborough on May 5th, for the 25 Lodges meeting at the Aldershot and Farnborough Centres, the other here at Bordon on June 12th, for the 15 Lodges meeting at Alton, Bordon and Petersfield. At both these events, the local Charities each Lodge is supporting throughout the year have or will be invited to attend to receive donations from the Lodges to show our commitment and support of our local communities. Our Lodge will be donating the proceeds of the Ladies night raffle to the Downs Syndrome Association, plus, hopefully, one other.

Last year, Woolmer Forest Lodge made donations to a number of worthy causes. At last year’s May White Table, we were pleased to present cheques of £500.00 to Anna’s Challenges, a Cystic Fibrosis Charity and Friends Forever. Also attending was Rev Dominic Clarke from St Matthews Church, Blackmoor, to thank the Lodge for the £500.00 donated by the Woolmer Forest Lodge of Instruction.

At the Bordon Centre Open Day at the end of May, we made donations of £200.00 each to the Forest Surgery Blood Pressure Monitor Appeal and to the Shannon Court Sensory Garden Appeal, both of these appeals also supported by the other Lodges meeting here at Bordon.

At our June meeting, we presented Cathy Clarke from Blackmoor & Whitehill Scout Group with a cheque for £250.00 to help towards replacing ageing camping equipment.

In September we held our Annual Ladies night and the proceeds of the raffle, £450.00 was donated to the WM and Kay`s Charity, the Alzheimer’s Society.

Last November, we learnt that Carrie`s son had been diagnosed with Leukaemia. We promptly had a whip round and £200 was donated to help with the cost of travelling to and from hospital. I`m pleased to report he is now in remission.

In January this year, we made a donation of £100.00 to the Watercress Club which meets here at Bordon once a month. They welcome the widows of former Freemasons, retired and semi-retired masons and their wives to a coffee and chat and host many various activities and excursions.

Also in January, we made a donation of £500.00 to Homestart Weywater. Normally this would have been donated tonight, but an organisation called the Four Acres Trust had pledged to match any donation of or over £500.00, until the end of January. This was obviously a wonderful opportunity for Homestart Weywater to doubly benefit from our donation then but I’m delighted to report that Emma Marbrook, co-ordinator for the Charity, has joined us tonight to give an insight on the work the Charity carry out.

Next we have Jane Kincaid, Kirstie and Mark from Friends Forever, a firm favourite of this Lodge whom we have been helping out for the last few years. I still remember the day I first met Jane and the Group at the Kingsley Centre. It was a Tuesday evening and as I walked in, I think it was Kirstie grabbed my arm and insisted I play bingo with them. I spent a very enjoyable hour or so with them, they really are a terrific group of people!  WM present cheque £500.00

Our highly esteemed W Bro Peter James sent me an email early this year high lighting an article in our Provincial Magazine, Insight, about Crohns and Colitis. I have, like I’m sure a lot of you, had heard and know people affected by this debilitating disease. He also forwarded an article about his Great Niece, Jasmine, just 12 years old, who was diagnosed with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Now that she is a little better, all be it on a cocktail of drugs, she is actively raising awareness of Crohns & Colitis and fundraising to help others. The Lodge has agreed to help with her fundraising by making a donation of £350.00 to support her efforts. WM present cheque £350.00 to Peter James, on her behalf.

Finally, our secretary brought to my attention an article in the local Bordon Herald about 18 month old Toby O`Neill.  He was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, last summer and after an MRI scan in December, his parents were told he had also suffered a stroke to the right side of his brain, which has affected the left side of his body, especially his left arm. His parents are trying to raise funds for treatment not available on the NHS, which commences in early May.
WM present cheque £350.00

I mentioned earlier that this is our Tercentenary Year. One of the Events taking place in our Province is a family fun day at Marwell Zoo. 2500 tickets have been sold to Hampshire Freemasons and their families and many Lodges have also bought tickets to give to disadvantaged or disabled and poorly children and their families.
Woolmer Forest and other Lodges meeting at Bordon are sponsoring 36 children and families to attend the Fun Day and pleased to say we have four tickets for Sean, his wife Brea and Toby and Seb.

Footnote. This evenings raffle raised £280.00, made up to £300 by the Social Committee. This was equally divided between Crohns & Colitis and the Toby O`Neill Appeal and is included in the above totals.

The Tom Langton Fund has awarded a grant of £500.00 to Homestart Weywater, which will be presented at the Bordon Tercentenary Charity Event, in June.

WBro Steve Russell
Charity Steward