Essex Freemasons bringing smiles to sick children

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Essex Freemasons are working to bring smiles to the faces of children at Romford, Southend and Basildon Hospitals who are facing life changing treatment for brain tumours, with a £1,000 donation to fund new sensory activities to help sick youngsters.

The activities, supplied by the charity, ‘Clowns in the Sky,’ are designed to offer stimulation and fun in wards when such support is not available in playrooms. They currently help children in all five of the major hospitals across Essex

Members of Lodge of Beneficence, who meet at Orsett made the £1,000 donation, £500 of which came directly from members with the balance match funded by the Essex Freemasons Community Fund.

“The money will make a huge difference,” said Donna Byrne, Development Officer for Clowns in the Sky. “Children who are spending long periods in Hospital need stimulation distraction and the power of play helps promote positive wellbeing and gives them something to do when they are not having treatment and this where a charity like ours can really help.”

“Each support package, which includes toys, puzzles, books and other challenges costs around £100 a time so we can make a £1,000 go a long way. Brain tumours take an enormous toll even on those who survive them as the treatment can be very stressful. The child may have to cope with high doses of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. This often involves long hospital stays which are difficult for everyone, more so for children, which is why these packages are so critical.”

Lodge of Beneficence have had a close association with the charity since 2012, explained Perry Dowsett who with fellow Lodge member Christian Webb and Assistant Provincial Grand Master Peter Hollingsworth, met Donna Byrne and one of its leading Patrons former West Ham footballer and now Sky pundit Tony Cottee at a special presentation to hand over the money.

“Essex Masons donate more than £1 million every year to local charities,” said Peter Hollingsworth. “This is another good example of Lodges working with our own Community Fund to help make a difference where it matters.”

“As well as support packages for children Clowns in the Sky also make their own donations to help fund research into brain cancers which affect so many children. I am delighted that we have been able to make a difference.”


Braham Djidjelli

Deputy Group Communications Officer
Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex