SUPPORTING MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT

In 2017 WBro Steve Ripley a well-known member of Wakefield of Hythe Lodge No 6059 was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Steve was a popular figure within the Province enjoying his spell as a Provincial Steward, where he established friendships with his peers including the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, WBro Peter Rhodes.  He later went on to become Provincial Grand Sword Bearer and Assistant Provincial Director of Ceremonies.

Motivated by the difficult times they were facing, nine members of Steve’s family including his brother-in-law WBro Warren Hyder (also a member of Wakefield of Hythe Lodge 6059) and Steve’s wife and son, decided to take on a challenging and at times spectacular fund-raising initiative to raise funds for cancer sufferers. Together they embarked on the Jurassic Coast Ultra Challenge in July 2018.Together, Warren and Steve’s efforts provided the foundations for a multiple match funding initiative in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The pair were able to enlist support from the thirteen Lodges and Chapters listed below, jointly raising a sum of £3955 in addition to the family fundraising outside of Masonic circles. WBro Steve sadly lost his battle with prostate cancer in April 2019, however he will be forever remembered as the inspiration to raise funds to assist others fighting the disease. Warren says he was moved by the support provided by the brethren demonstrating Masonic support not only for other charities but also for our Brethren in times of need.

LODGES:
Wakefield of Hythe Lodge No.6059
Spirit of Rugby Lodge No.9922
Rochester Lodge No 3494
Mid Kent First Principals Chapter No.3173
East Kent Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter No.5866
Brownrigg Chapter No1424
Castle Lodge No.1436
Erasmus Wilson Lodge No.1464
Valley of Elham Lodge No.6649
Sir Edward Elgar Lodge No.9837
Kent Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No.5866
Gillingham Lodge of Benevolence No.184

On the 23rd January 24 Wakefield of Hythe Lodge kindly hosted a presentation ceremony at the Romney Marsh Masonic Centre. Members of the Lodge were joined by other Lodges and Chapters who had supported the initiative, and members of Warren’s family. WBro Peter West, Secretary of the CEKFC coordinated the presentation.

W.Bro Warren Hyder presented a cheque from the CEKFC to Nick Hannan, Relationship Fundraising Manager of Macmillan Cancer Support, to add to the MCF contribution which had already been made.

Nick in turn presented a certificate to Warren and his family in recognition of their exceptional fundraising efforts which, including the Masonic donations and matched funding, are now in excess of £30,000 for the charity. Warren said ‘As a family we faced difficult times but were determined to do all we could to support a charity that was close to our hearts. We were all overwhelmed with the support we received from so many, but none more so that our Masonic connections’.

The Trustees of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity (CEKFC) were delighted to support this magnificent team effort by matching it with their own funding. This lifted the total donation to £7,910.

This was an extraordinary achievement, however our Provincial Grand Charity Steward, WBro Peter Rhodes, never one to rest on his laurels, took it upon himself to contact the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), and thanks to his efforts the MCF added a further £7500 of match funding of their own. Growing the total donation to £15,410, a fantastic result which will go a long way to help cancer patients in the county. 

Nicky Lopez a Macmillan Cancer Support Relationship Fundraising Coordinator who is undergoing treatment for cancer herself has this message for the Freemasons of East Kent:

Because of you, someone like me will be led through the darkness with a hand to hold the entire way. Because of you, someone won’t have to worry about how they can afford to buy clothes because treatment has changed their body. Because of you, someone will have continuity of care and understand their diagnosis and treatment.
And so much more.
You will have unknowingly transformed the lives of so many people living with cancer and made what is an incredibly difficult time immeasurably easier.
You are in my eyes the true heroes.
Thank you.
Nicky

WBro Peter Rhodes, Provincial Grand Charity Steward said:

“It is humbling and heart-warming to know the difference that this combined donation will make to the lives of those currently receiving assistance from Macmillan Cancer Support. This is a great example of a fundraising initiative at a local level being supported both Provincially by the CEKFC and nationally by the MCF.”

WBro Peter Rodd Chairman of Trustees of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity said;

“The CEKFC is delighted to have had the opportunity to support the thirteen lodges and chapters whose initiative has resulted in such a significant sum being donated to a wonderful charity”

Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity & Masonic Charitable Foundation donate to the East Kent Multiple Sclerosis Group

The CEKFC were recently contacted by the East Kent MS Group who were seeking assistance in support of an initiative they started in 2019 which provides physiotherapy-led exercise classes, specifically designed for local people with MS.  These had proved a great success and were quickly followed in 2020 by the introduction of weekly massage treatments and one to one sessions using video technology enabling those with very limited mobility to benefit as well.

A picture of Peter West presenting the cheque to Dot Fisk the Group Coordinator.
A picture showing members participating in one of the weekly classes
an online class taking place

Subsequent evaluations have shown that all members experienced improved feelings of wellbeing and were now confident in overcoming physical activity barriers and challenges with the support of the weekly classes. This has increased the confidence of members helping them find ways to be more physically active away from the classes.  They also developed new friendships and felt a sense of personal accomplishment by attending the classes.

MS is a very lonely condition for both the sufferer and their carer. The East Kent MS Group relies on locally generated funding raised through charity initiatives at social events, participation in sponsored events, and general fund raising in public spaces. The current financial climate has proved challenging; particularly to the income raised at social events, placing the therapies on offer at risk. The benefits sufferers derive from these therapies cannot be overstated;  it is vital for the Group to secure sufficient funding for them to continue. Sufferers who have taken part in the therapy say:

Honestly, this is the only class I’ve managed to stay at. Vicky has been brilliant at varying the class despite all our varied limitation. It is fantastic.’

‘I feel that our classes are very well planned and thought out. We have fun whilst exercising and generally have a great time. Thank you!’ 

‘This is the first exercise class I’ve felt confident to attend and then actually enjoy.’

The CEKFC trustees were pleased to support the application by authorising a grant of £2500. Our Provincial Grand Charity Steward WBro Peter Rhodes then engaged with the Masonic Charity Foundation who were pleased to match fund the contribution made by the CEKFC; the East Kent MS Group received a grant of £5000 in total.

Judy Lee the Groups secretary says: “We are so grateful to the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons for their generous award which will help us enormously in continuing these vital therapies”.

The CEKFC Secretary WBro Peter West was pleased to attend the Groups most recent committee meeting to hear more about what they do and present a cheque to Dot Fisk the Group Coordinator. See main photo above.