‘Walk and Talk’ to raise over £5,000 for suicide prevention charity

Braintree Freemasons promote a simple idea enjoyed by many to help many others

On Saturday 8th July Essex Freemasons, John Smillie of Langthorne Lodge No. 1421 and Mark Lappage of Cromwell Lodge No. 6971, hosted the inaugural ‘PAPYRUS WALK and TALK’ family day in aid of PAPYRUS.

PAPYRUS is a UK charity founded in 1997 by a group of bereaved parents, who had each lost children to suicide which is the biggest killer of people aged 35 and under in the UK. The Charity is dedicated to the prevention of young suicide and also to the promotion of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in young people.

After a year of fundraising by both John and Mark, this new incentive aimed to get families out together to simply ‘walk and talk….’ no technology, no boundaries and of course to draw attention and raise awareness and funds for this vitally important Charity.  With many Essex Lodges now being in summer recess, it was also a great opportunity to catch up with some friendly faces and old friends.

After six months of careful planning, organisation, a relentless advertising campaign and the invaluable help of local businesses and fellow Essex Freemason Scott Wilson and his wife, Tracy, who kindly offered to host the event as owners of ‘The Welsh Princess’ pub in Rayne, the first ever ‘PAPYRUS WALK and TALK’ was ready.

On a beautiful sunny day, the walkers arrived and registered for either the early route of eight miles or the more child friendly four mile route. Both options were well sign posted and the walkers were greeted at two and six miles with a selection of free cakes and cold drinks, all of which had also been made and donated by local businesses and family members.

Significantly almost half the walkers were younger than 16 and they really got into the spirit of the day which further demonstrated the importance of the Charity. On completing the distances, all walkers arrived safely back at the Welsh Princess Pub by 1pm, and were greeted with an outside bar, food truck, ice cream van and live music. The kids’ corner, which was full of prizes and games, went down a treat with the younger supporters and they all took part in the Poster competition, with the theme of ‘Making Someone Happy.’

Over 150 people joined in with this special day, including friends, families and members from all the Lodges which meet at Howard Hall Masonic Centre in Braintree. Because of the generosity of all that attended and made donations to the Raffle and Auction, as well as Charity Tins and the registration itself, over £5,300 was raised on the day with more money still to come from the Auction items.

The amount far exceeded expectations and was a very proud day for Braintree Freemasons. John and Mark would like to thank everyone that supported them on the day and if you still wish to donate please do so at: www.justgiving.com/page/braintreemasonjohnandmark 

Further information on PAPYRUS can be found at: Papyrus UK Suicide Prevention | Prevention of Young Suicide (papyrus-uk.org)


Top: L-R: Luke Markey, George Cain and John Smillie

Right: L-R: Brent Lay and Mark Lappage

Bottom: Left - Walkers enjoying free refreshments Right - Fun times at ‘The Welsh Princess’