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.

Open House and PSA Testing

Open Day Poster 2018On Saturday 10th March, the Freemasons of Newbury are opening the Newbury Masonic Centre to the public as part of the #EnoughisEnough campaign. Between 10am and 3pm, the team will be in Newbury’s main shopping area, Northbrook Street, to answer questions from the public and offer them the opportunity to tour the Centre.

Enough is enough

PSA testOn the same day, from 10am until 1pm, Freemasons, as well as their friends and family, will be able to take a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test to look for early signs of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK after lung and bowel cancer and biggest killer of men.

The NHS describes the prostate as a “small gland in the pelvis, found only in men. It’s located between the penis and the bladder and it’s main function is to help in the production of semen”.

According to the BBC News website, although deaths from prostate cancer have been rising over the past 10 years or so, the mortality rate or the proportion of men dying from the disease has fallen – by 6% – between 2010 and 2015.

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The Berkshire masonic comunity has joned with a number of the surrounding provinces to increase awareness of the issue. We are encouraging members to discuss the issue with their male friends and family, and to consider getting tested. Testing events are being hosted at Masonic centres throughout the province over the coming year.

 

 

 

Useful information about Prostate Cancer

 

Newbury Freemasons

Helping with Loose Ends

Loose Ends
Nick Stephens with Helen and other volunteers from Loose Ends

Hungerford Freemasons recently donated £230 to Loose Ends, a drop in centre in Newbury serving food to the homeless and vulnerable. The money, raised in typical masonic style via a raffle, came from the social event following our recent meeting. Lodge members were encouraged to bring raffle prizes as well as tinned food that could be used by the centre.

Loose Ends is run by volunteers who prepare and serve hot, healthy meals as well as offering groceries, tins, toiletries and clean clothes to all those in need.

Helen, a volunteer at Loose Ends thanked everyone for their support and kindness “Without this kind of support, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. We strive to provide a safe, friendly atmosphere where people can socialise. Our clients are often homeless or ‘sofa surfing’, may have addictions, suffer from a mental illness or are on low incomes.”

You can donate to Loose Ends directly via “MyDonate” – click on Donate to Charity and then search for Loose Ends.

Alternatively, you can help them by sending them a gift via Amazon.

Another link in the chain

The Hungerford Masonic chain has another new link this month. We welcome into our ranks Tristan, who first met members of the Lodge at an Open Day event and after a period of relection, decided to join us.

tristanHe was treated to an excellent ceremony, which he found very emotional. He was visibly moved by the part of the ceremony which focuses on the importance of charity, excellently delivered by our Director Ceremonies, Gilbert Mills. We paused a while to allow him to gather himself before completing the ceremony.

We placed Tristan to the right of the Master (Chris “Ralph” Coyle) and surrounded him with the members to support him just in case he wobbled again.

Further, extending our chain, we welcome Andy who joined us as an existing Freemason who wanted to have even more fun in his life.

We also received an update on both Phoebe and Peter from our charity officer, Nick Stephens. Phoebe and her family may continue to need our support as the state mechanisms have yet to kick in fully. The news from Peter is much better, he has been able to assist his wife with the weekly shopping trip, using the basket on his new mobility scooter to bring home the bacon.

As is our tradition, the formalities completed, we headed to the Newbury branch of the Royal British Legion, where we held the social element of the evening. All members were fed and watered, before the Lodge stewards reminded us once more of the importance of charity by selling raffle tickets. On this occasion we were raising money for Loose Ends, a local charity helping the homeless in Newbury and the surrounding area.

If you feel that Freemasonry might be of interest to you, the next Open Day is on Saturday 10th March 2018 from 10am until 3pm. Find us here.

Enough is Enough

“For too long we have been unjustly singled out.  We are an organisation whose whole tenet is about helping individuals become better people, with values of honesty, integrity and service to others.  Membership of Freemasonry is not only positive for them as individuals, but also for society at large.

Sadly, too many Freemasons have to exercise caution in response to prejudice and discrimination they fear they will face.  We want the day when every Freemason can proudly declare themselves a member of our great and historical organisation without fear of retribution, suspicion or damage.”

Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of UGLE

enoughisenough

Peter’s New Wheels

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Peter and his family

Members of Hungerford Lodge gathered recently to surprise Thatcham resident Peter Congerton with a mobility scooter.

Peter and his family were invited to the Newbury Masonic Centre for a private tour before being shown round the building. Significant items were explained to them before Lodge Charity Officer, Nick Stephens, presented Peter with a brand new mobility scooter.

Peter has spinal issues and was saving up to buy himself a scooter so that he could help his wife with the weekly shop but due to his injury, he needed one with special suspension costing £1,900. Nick, who has known Peter and his family for a while, stepped in and offered to ask the Masonic charities for help.

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Freemasonry explained

Peter was overwhelmed and, as is typical of his generation, felt that others were far more deserving than him.

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Peter’s new ride

He was grateful for Nick simply spending time with him. In one email he included the following lines

An illuminated light from the shadow

That gives without asking or wanting

Who treats everyone with the same respect

And I want to thank you friend for

being that light from the shadow

Your kind ways always bring a smile to my face.

Peter is not a freemason and, until his tour of the Newbury Masonic Centre, knew nothing of the Craft, however, he has summed up the spirit of Freemasonry beautifully.

Peter gave up work many years ago through poor health and now has daily seizures due to epilepsy, resulting in many falls. He has recently been to the Royal Berkshire Hospital for an operation on his spine and was told he had a 1 in 6 chance of coming back from the operation. Thankfully the operation was successful and he was able to come home.

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A little something for Linda

Peter was promised formal support for his return home, however after a month he is  still waiting. He needs a stair lift as he cannot walk or get upstairs and he has received very little physiotherapy. Until the stairlift is fitted, he is reduced to sleeping on the sofa which  is upsetting for Peter and Linda, his wife of 39 years.

The Hungerford Lodge will be keeping an eye on this family with a view to providing help where the normal mechanisms cannot.

When eight is better than six

We are delighted to say that as our Lodge goes from strength to strength we are planning to revert to eight meetings a year. Even better news is that the Treasurer has not increased the fees to cover this extra enjoyment!

Here is our 2018 Programme. Come and visit us and join in the fun.