The Cross Keys Community have cracked it again this Easter

 Another Eggs-cellent year for Cross Keys Community Fund in donating to their local community

Essex Freemasons at The Cross Keys Masonic Centre in Thurrock have always been committed to charitable work and never more so than in Easter.

Two years ago, they made national headlines after donating over 1000 Easter eggs to community groups throughout the region. Last year, they organised numerous Easter egg hunts for local groups supporting vulnerable children. This year, their efforts have been equally inspiring, and the members of the now-established Cross Keys Community Fund (CKCF) have been busy again.

They have donated Easter eggs and crafts to women's refuges, special needs youth groups, and ‘Knit and Natter’ groups in Thurrock.

The Stifford Dolphins, a local Cubs Pack, were given a donation of £500 to help fund their exciting Spring Camp at Thriftwood Scout Campsite & Activity Centre in Brentwood. The camp is always popular and offers fun activities like abseiling, archery, and axe throwing for the young cubs to enjoy.

A 43-inch TV was purchased and donated to the Thurrock Mind Charity in Grays, which was part of a project led by the Mayor of Thurrock, Sue Little, to create a sensory garden. The garden will serve as a relaxing space for the charity's clients to unwind.

The CKCF also collaborated with ‘Knit and Natter’ groups in Fobbing and Chadwell St Mary, by providing materials to create 'Twiddle Muffs'. These were donated to local residential homes like ‘Willows Lodge’ in Tilbury and ‘Merrie Loots Care Home’ in East Tilbury. Twiddle Muffs are knitted muffs with items attached to keep dementia patients’ hands active and busy. They contain strands of textured ribbons, beads, and various fabrics attached both, inside and outside. People with dementia often have restless hands and like to have something to keep their hands occupied.

Local resident Viv Crouch, who is a Committee member for the Patient Participation Group, Stifford Clays Knitting Club, recently shared that the CKCF has been working closely with them.

She said, “The CKCF provided baby wool to the predominantly retired knitters of the club, who then knitted clothes for pre-term, full-term, and sick babies. These clothes were later donated to Colourful Beginnings, an organization that distributes baby clothes to various neonatal units beyond Thurrock. Additionally, during a particularly harsh winter, the CKCF collaborated with the knitting club to create lap blankets for the elderly. Dave Barton, a member of the CKCF, played a leading role in arranging the distribution of the blankets to local residential homes.”

More recently, the Stifford Clays Knitting Club received hundreds of Cadbury's Crème Eggs and wool donations, which they used to knit hundreds of Easter woollen gifts. These gifts were then donated to NHS staff at Basildon, Royal London, and Queens Hospital among many other local groups and residential homes.

Dave Barton, Essex Freemason and Chairman of the Cross Keys Community Fund, expressed his enthusiasm for involving people in charity during Easter.

He said, “With spring in full bloom, everyone feels energised to contribute, and the CKCF takes pride in supporting Viv Crouch - Stifford Clays Knitting Club - who works tirelessly for the local community. We love to support all the community groups and charities that we work with, as it encompasses four important values that help define Freemasons: Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Service.”

CKCF includes all six lodges that meet at the Cross Keys Masonic Centre namely:  Saint John’s No. 1343 – St Georges No. 4117 – Thurrock No. 4757 – Old Palmerians No. 5632 – Henry de Gray No. 6627 and Stifford Heath No. 8327.  


Top: Mick Draper presenting ‘Twiddle Muffs’ to Merrie Loots Care Home staff.

Left: Crème Eggs and Easter woollen gifts.

Right: A Stifford Dolphins Cub getting involved at his Thriftwood Spring Camp. 

Bottom: ‘Twiddle Muffs.’