The Spirit of Christmas Presents

Berkshire Freemasons help bring a little Christmas cheer to one local family

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At a recent meeting of the Hungerford Lodge, the members entertained their partners and friends with a meal and Christmas Carol singing, accompanied by the Hungerford Town Band. The members met briefly in the Masonic Centre, a short walk from “The Legion“, whilst their partners and guests were entertained at the Legion by the Lodge’s Stewards.

3In a change from the traditional Auction, it was decided to run a White Table evening with raffle. In Masonic circles, a White Table event is one where the members conduct a limited amount of Masonic business before joining their partners and friends for a meal.

One tradition that has been maintained despite the move from Hungerford to Newbury has been the link with the Hungerford Town Band. They have traditionally led our carol singing and, in turn, we have been staunch supporters, often helping to fund new instruments for up and coming musicians.4

The raffle was well supported as usual with the Stewards working their usual magic to extricate money from all of the members.11

This year there was an especially poignant reason for the members to dig deep. Our Charity Steward had been become aware of the plight of a local family who are experiencing extreme financial difficulties.

The eldest daughter, who is nineteen, has recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. She has since undergone over 50 hours of surgery which has sadly left her with many issues including being blind in one eye and difficulties walking.

The family are struggling to live day to day as the mother is now a full time carer and therefore unable to work. The Government support processes are involved but can take up to 16 weeks for money to come through.  They are currently reliant on the local food bank and other handouts while their paperwork is processed.

When our Charity Steward, Nick, visited them to understand how the Berkshire Masonic family could help, he asked the young lady what she would like for Christmas and her reply was simply a pink handbag. Her eight year old sister asked for some Sylvanian family dolls, whilst the mother was just glad to have her daughter home.

This story touched every heart and the members of the Berkshire Masonic family have done everthing they can to ensure that this will be a great Christmas for this family. “Saint” Nick and a few elves visited the family to deliver three Christmas sacks of presents. The members raised £300, some of which has been used to put credit on prepay cards for both telephone and electricity.

Needless to say, a few tears of grateful joy were shed but this family are starting to look to the future. There is the small matter of 10, yes ten, medical appointments in January but the recovery process is beginning.

The members of the Hungerford Lodge are pleased to have been able to help this family and wish them, and everyone, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

If this story has sparked your interest in Freemasonry and you think you might like to join us, we would love to hear from you.

© Hungerford Lodge 4748

Sharing the Knowledge

JOG donationHungerford Freemasons are delighted to have presented a cheque for £500 to the John O’Gaunt School Library Appeal this week.

Gilbert Mills, Chairman of the Hungerford Freemasons Lodge Benevolent Association, presented a cheque to Assistant Head Teacher Mrs Bunston, PSA Chair Penny Locke and Librarian Mrs Lamb.

Hungerford Freemasons have taken a keen interest in the local community since the Lodge formed 90 years ago and we were delighted to have been approached to help with the John O’Gaunt School Library project.

As a self-confessed silver surfer, Gilbert said “Freemasonry has always been about encouraging people to be the best version of themselves that they can be. We do this by taking what we call a Daily Advancement or doing something every day to improve yourself. We hope that this new facility will help our children and grandchildren to do just that, as well as demystifying modern technology for my generation!”

About the Benevolent Association:

The Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association is a registered charity that has in the last five years distributed over £25,000 of funds raised solely from the members of the Lodge and other Berkshire freemasons.

About the Learning Resource Centre:

The new Learning Resource Centre (LRC) will be an open plan space, set out with distinct zones and touch pad technology. As well as appropriate, varied and inspiring books, there will be a teaching space with interactive whiteboard, iPod stations for listening to audio books, reading ‘nook’ to read comfortably (my own children like to read lying down or even upside down!) and gallery space in which to celebrate student work. There will be a careers area to show our children what they never dreamed they might be, a graphic novel section for those who like a little ‘Pow!’ in their narrative and a variety of reading seats about the space for those who like to just ‘be’. The LRC will be modern in design, whilst approachable and inspiring in outlook. It will also be a space for our community; book groups for different age groups, storytelling afternoons for toddlers, author visits and book signings in conjunction with our local book shop and town library and the setting for our ‘Silver Surfers’ ICT course. Reading should be as much at the heart of the Hungerford Community as it is at our school.