Essex Freemasons donate £10,000 to support bereaved children and their families

Essex Freemasons have donated £10,000 to help fund the work of the Essex Child Death Review Team, a group of dedicated professionals who work as part of the NHS to offer support to families in every part of the county, following the tragic death of a child.

The money will be used to purchase visual aids, leaflets and books which help to explain to young children what has happened following the passing of a sibling or other close relative. There are about 100 such cases every year in Essex.

The team, who are part of The Princess Alexandra NHS, also work closely with all of the main hospitals in Essex – Broomfield, Basildon, Harlow, Southend and Colchester – and are involved with families when a child (up to the age of 18 years) dies.

Team Leader Andrea Brewis, explained: “Around 50% of our cases are unexpected and when a member of our team arrives, usually in an A&E Department, parents and children are obviously distressed and in many cases have no idea what they should do next.”

“We assist with practical advice and information (for example information about other professional’s roles and funeral planning) and we offer advice and support to families individual to their needs. A large part of our work is to help other young children in the family understand and cope with what has happened. We use leaflets, toys and books to help us do this and the money will help to fund this vital part of our service which is why I want to thank Essex Masons for this very generous donation.”

The £10,000 was given via the Essex Provincial Charity Fund, which was set up by local Freemasons in the 1930’s to support worthy causes such the Essex Child Death Review Team. Their work came to the attention of the Fund Trustees, who immediately agreed the grant, following a recommendation from members of The Lodge of Borrowed Light which meets in Harlow.

“We were happy to agree such a donation,” said Paul Reeves, Deputy Provincial Grand Master. “The work undertaken by the team each year under the most difficult of circumstances is absolutely incredible and we are delighted that we have been able to help.”

Rob Whittingham, Chairman of the Teddies for Loving Care Appeal in Essex said, “I am also delighted to say that the support will not stop there.  We have been supplying TLC Teddies to A&E Departments and walk-in centres in every Essex Hospital as well as Whipps Cross Hospital and the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, which are given to child patients suffering trauma & distress. When we learnt this team were also using Teddies to help children suffering the trauma of a death close to them we were only too happy to include them in the TLC family and have today supplied them with their first batch of Teddies.

This was a charity initiative which started in Essex 20 years and which is now supported by Masons worldwide with 3 million having been supplied to date and almost ½ million in Essex alone.”

The TLC Teddies will now be used by the Essex Child Death Review Team alongside the books, leaflets and other visual aids, to help young children cope through difficult times.