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Freemasons donate £5,000 to hospices in memory of former member

A Freemasons lodge has donated £5,000 to be shared by two hospices in memory of a proud former member.

The St Oswald Lodge, based in Darlington, split the money between Butterwick Hospice Care and St Teresa’s Hospice to help them maintain vital services during the coronavirus pandemic.

The generous donation came from a special fund named in memory of former member Reg Pearce, who was Master of the lodge in 1932. When Mr Pearce died he left an amount of money to the lodge to be used to support impoverished Freemasons and needy charities.

After reading about the challenges facing hospices during the Covid-19 crisis, the trustees decided that some of the money from the Reg Pearce Fund should be used to help the Butterwick and St Teresa’s.

Lodge secretary, Ian Ogden, visited Butterwick Hospice, in Stockton, to hand over a cheque for £2,500, while treasurer, Allan Bell, presented St Teresa’s with the same amount.

Mr Bell said: “These are very challenging times for hospices, which perform such a vital role in our communities, and we decided this was a highly appropriate use of part of the fund, and it seemed the right time to put the resource to good use.”

With traditional fundraising activities drastically restricted, and shops closed, during the lockdown, both hospices have launched emergency appeals.

Debbie Jones, chief executive of Butterwick Hospice, said: “The Freemasons have been very supportive of us over the years and we are so grateful for this latest generous donation. These are difficult times for all charities and financial support like this really help us to maintain key services that families depend on.”

Jane Bradshaw, Chief Executive, added: “This wonderful donation comes at a very difficult time, and will make a big difference to the many people who still need to use our services. The kind support from the Freemasons over the years has enabled us to continue providing vital care and support to those living with life-limiting illness across South Durham and North Yorkshire and we’re grateful to them once again for their help.”