Parcels for the troops at Christmas

“A generous donation of goods from the Hungerford Lodge of Freemasons meant that more boxes than expected were posted to a number of locations worldwide”

The Kingsclere branch of the Royal British Legion have been busy sorting and packing Christmas parcels for British Servicemen and women who will be away from their families this Christmas. 

The preparations culminated in a packing and posting session on Saturday the 17th November where 128 parcels were put together at The Crown, Kingsclere, thanks to Suzanne and Nigel Windmill’s kind permission to turn their function room into a scene akin to an elf’s workshop.

Mark Holden, Chairman of the Kingsclere branch of the Royal British Legion said; “I have first hand experience of being overseas at Christmas and away from family and friends and opening a parcel sent from home really does make a difference to moral and remind you that people are thinking of you”. 

The parcels are typically funded by donations from people living in and around Kingsclere but this year the shipment will be even bigger than normal. “A generous donation of goods from the Hungerford Lodge of Freemasons, coordinated by their Charity Steward, Nick Stephens, meant that more boxes than expected were posted to a number of locations worldwide”.

The branch members were supported by people from across the village in the task with many villagers donating boxes and items, including the Kingsclere Guides and Scout packs who each put together 12 boxes.

The parcels contained a mixture of sweets, chocolates, toiletries and Christmas hats and games.

Lodge News

Members of the Hungerford Lodge recently gathered with family and friends for a Sunday lunch at the Chequers Hotel in Newbury. Everyone had a wonderful time enjoying the food and the atmosphere. Funds raised from those attending the event were split as follows:

Hungerford Lodge is now the proud sponsor of three guide dogs for the blind over a two-year support programme, the Lodge members have supported two of the dogs and our Master, has sponsored the third – Oscar.

Bella Daisy Oscar

Bella is an affectionate little puppy who enjoys cuddles.

Daisy is a bundle of fun who loves to play. Oscar is an adventurous chap who loves to explore.

WBRRCAlso attending the event were the Chairman of >WBRRC (West Berkshire Rapid Response Cars) and Peter and Lyn Congerton. WBRRC had recently been presented with a cheque for £1000, from the Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association, to support the good work they do in around West Berkshire. Peter and Lyn have been part of the Lodge’s extended family ever since the Lodge assisted Peter with a new mobility scooter.

A Scouting Expedition

Thanks to the Hungerford Freemasons, Scouts belonging to the Savernake Forest Scout Group will now be able to pursue more challenging outdoor activities.  The Burbage-based group has been awarded a £250 grant towards the purchase of camping equipment to enable the young people to take part in camping and other outdoor activities.

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Neil Patterson receiving the cheque from Colin Sainsbury, on behalf of the Hungerford Freemasons, surrounded by members of the Scout troop

Scout Leader Neil Patterson says, “We are delighted by the generosity of the Hungerford Freemasons.  Our Scouts recently planned and went on a 20-mile two-day hiking expedition from Burbage to Avebury, involving an overnight stay in Marlborough.  After the hike, they put together a wish list of equipment that would be helpful for future expeditions.”  As a result, they requested a tent and various camping cooking accessories.  The equipment will also be used by the group’s Beavers and Cubs.

The enthusiastic Scouts are already planning another expedition later this year.  Scouts who successfully completed the expedition will be awarded the Scouting Expedition Challenge Award.

The Scout troop (11-14 year olds) meet at the Scout Hut next to Mundy’s yard, East Sands, Burbage on a Friday night from 7-9pm. The younger sections of the Scouting movement are:

  • Beavers (6-8 year olds) meet on Mondays 6pm -7pm
  • Cubs (8-10 ½ year old) meet on Wednesdays 6pm – 7.30pm

Contact details for these groups can be found here.

The Magic Table

Our Charity Officer, Nick Stephens, recently went to Hungerford Resource Centre with a donation from our members. This was received with thanks by the care team as it means that they have now raised £5,400 and are very close to being able to buy a Tovertafel.

tovertafel-original-productTovertafel (which means Magic Table in Dutch) is a series of games for people with moderate to severe dementia and adults with severe learning disabilities, encouraging them to instinctively participate to stimulate both physical and social activity. The games consist of a series of interactive light animations which are projected on any table and which motivate the mind and inspire those living with dementia and/or learning disabilities to be active.

As a day centre, the Hungerford Resource Centre provides services for adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and for those who maybe frail or have dementia. Ages range between 18-103, it brings people together and promotes laughter and interaction with each other, leading to wellbeing and social interaction.

To see how the Tovertafel works and the joy that it brings, watch this video from the manufacturers.

They have been lucky enough to experience the Magic Table with their customers when it was brought into the centre for trial. The difference it made was truly inspirational; the cost of this equipment is around £6.000 (exclusive of VAT) which includes 8 original games, installation, training and a three-year service contract.

The Centre hopes that by having this equipment, it will help younger adults to have improved social interaction in the community. ‘Magic Table’ games help dementia patients relax and reminisce. For people with learning disabilities the hardware is identical, but the games are different — more intense, more directly educational. It got its name from someone with dementia who announced when trying it that “this is a magic table”.

The manufacturers believe that everyone has the right to play. Whether young or old, male or female, living with a disability, suffering a short or long-term illness or in recovery, playing is much more than just having fun; it is paramount for the individual’s mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. The Centre staff are very keen to see this device in use by their customers.

A stitch in the Nick of time

Hungerford Lodge’s Charity Officer, Nick Stephens recently met with Candice Bauval of the The Old Chapel Textile Centre to present the Centre with a cheque for £175 to enable them to buy additional conservation equipment.  The Old Chapel Textile Centre is the home of the National Needlework Archive and the Country Wife mural.

Volunteers at work on The Country Wife
Volunteers at work on The Country Wife

The team at the Centre are working very hard raising money to keep the charity running and also for a unique project called The Country Wife, which their volunteers and specialist conservator have been working on for over nine years.

The Country Wife is an incredible piece not just due to its the size (4.5m x 5m) or the fact it takes at least 8 people to move it, but that it shows a detailed snippet of the lives and roles of typical country wives from the 1950s. It was designed by Constance Howard and was made by her, and some of her students at Goldsmiths College, for the Country Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951.

The piece has had an exciting journey from being on display at The Festival of Britain, having various owners, surviving water and light damage and finally being lovingly restored and preserved by their many lovely volunteers. It really needs to be seen to appreciate the size and the detail.
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The Old Chapel Textile Centre is located on Greenham Business Park and provides a safe and friendly meeting place within the Newbury and local community where those that are interested in sewing, craft work and textiles can come together to share their skills, socialise and also to encourage the new (and younger) generations to be inspired by the art. This has meant that they have moved  with the times by displaying very modern and artistic pieces from a variety of artists in different styles as well as taking to Facebook.

Knitted Newbury
Knitted Newbury

They recently launched their Knitted Newbury exhibition, with over 80 people coming to see the official unveiling by the Mayor and the Head of the Cloth-workers Guild. Many local people took part in Knitted Newbury, it was a real community project and they have done a fantastic job of recreating Newbury in wool.

Information about upcoming events can be found here.

Donating to the #Berks2023 Festival

Donating to the #Berks2023 Festival is as easy as clicking a button and filling in a quick form. You can make a single donation or set up a regular monthly payment to help you spread the cost. £10 per month for the five years of the festival makes £600 and qualifies you to become a Festival Steward.

You enter your Lodge Number (hint: 4748 🙂 ) and Name (hint: Hungerford Lodge 😉 ) and your donation is recorded against our Lodge target. Don’t forget to fill in the Gift Aid section, if you qualify. Remember, almost everyone is taxed on their income in some way.

Donate to the Festival

If you need any help, please contact our Charity Steward, Nick Stephens,  for assistance.

Robert Bone, Kennet Lodge, has created this short video to show you how the process works.

Shaping a Brighter Future

Hungerford Freemasons have donated £1,000 to the Brighter Futures Radiotherapy Appeal to help give people better access to life-saving radiotherapy treatment at the Great Western Hospital (GWH) in Swindon.  Every month, 284 people in Swindon and Wiltshire are given a diagnosis of cancer at GWH.  The current lack of a radiotherapy service in Swindon and Wiltshire means that these cancer patients must make the journey to Oxford, Bath or Cheltenham to receive their treatment.

The money raised from the appeal will enablescanner
a new radiotherapy satellite centre to be built at GWH in partnership with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  Andrew Holmes, presenting the cheque on behalf of the Hungerford Lodge says, “The Lodge is very pleased to be involved in fundraising for the appeal.  Whilst the Hungerford Lodge is in the masonic province of Berkshire, for many of our members the closest hospital is across the border in Wiltshire.”

“We would like to say a huge thank you to the Hungerford Lodge for their donation”, adds Chloe Thomascheque from Brighter Futures.  “We have now raised £2,153,034 of the £2,900,000 needed to purchase key clinical equipment for the new radiotherapy unit, so we are well on our way to meeting our target.”

“At the moment around 700 patients a year make the 70 mile round-trip journey to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford for radiotherapy.  Treatment usually lasts for a period of 4-7 weeks, made up of daily visits. This travelling just adds to the stress of fighting cancer.”

Gilbert Mills, chair of the Benevolent Association said “This is a once in a generation opportunity to make a huge difference to cancer treatment in Swindon and the local area. Freemasons have a long history of supporting developments such as this.”

Building of the new facility should start later this year.

Anyone wishing to donate to this appeal can use their Just Giving link.