Sometimes, however, it is others who are members of freemasons’ families who take the initiative and raise the profile of a particular charity that needs a helping hand and by bringing it to the attention of the Lodge.
One such charity is the Mustard Seed Autism Trust, which provides support for children and relatives of families affected by autism.
There is no similar service available through the National Health Service (NHS).
The small team of professional staff and volunteers provide practical support for children with their communication, motor co-ordination, sensory and emotional difficulties through a range of therapies and activities.
There is no support from professional medical services and they rely purely on other charities for premises in which to make assessments and treat their patients.
Many of the conditions within the autistic spectrum are not recognised by the NHS.
Like Father, Like Daughter –Hayley, the daughter of W. Bro Roger Burke PPrAGDC of Featherstone Lodge, No. 7851, realising the plight of those youngsters who would possibly have to wait up to four years for assessment, took the matter into her own hands.
Noah her son had been seriously ill and she wanted to raise the profile of the work done by the Trust and to this end wrote to the National Press, her MP and a host of other people to achieve an assessment for her son Noah affected by this condition,
Fortunately he was able to be treated by specialist doctors and nurses at the Southampton Childrens’ Hospital.
Nevertheless, such had been the support that Hayley received from the small but very professional team at The Mustard Seed Autism Trust that she was determined to raise their profile through fundraising to help them.
Offering a system of self-referral they needed to raise an awareness of their organisation. Working across the autistic spectrum, either at home, or if they are able to secure the services of a professionally equipped venue, the service is provided is to all regardless of financial status. The staff are dedicated to a greater perception of autism, as well as providing professional training to local schools and organisations on various autism related topics.
It also operates a social enterprise offering occupational therapy to children aged from two to nineteen within the school environment.
Let the Music Begin –What better way to raise money than by organizing a musical extravaganza where W. Bro Roger mustered his musical friends, some of whom are renowned in their own musical sphere and also some known to him personally from service in the Staff Band of the Royal Corps of Transport.
On the Saturday 8th June the event took place at the Princes Hall, Aldershot.
The entertainment included performances by Sing Squad a rock band from Aldershot, the Motivation Gospel Choir from Guildford and Hayley’s husband playing drums in one of the tribute bands.
Although the musicians gave their services free in support of the Charity, the event was underwritten by W. Bro Roger and his daughter.
The event was supported by Featherstone Lodge with the full support of the Worshipful Master and Lodge members who also gave a £400 contribution.
£2,500 was raised for the Trust and would be put to good use purchasing new equipment and training material as well as trying to reduce the waiting time for assessments and referrals.
A cheque for £2,500 was presented by Hayley Linge (W. Bro Roger Burke’s daughter) to Frances Bland of the Mustard Seed Autism Trust at the Holiday Inn, Farnborough, Hampshire on Saturday July 6th.
The function room was provided free by the hotel with the proviso that a £300 deposit for drinks was placed behind the bar. With a number of freemasons present, that was an easy task .
This kind of cooperation between masons and non-masons is sure to highlight the beneficial effects of our organization and show that charity need not be confined.
More information is available via their website https://www.mustardseedautism.co.uk
Concert details at https://www.altogether4autism.co.uk
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