Emma - a champion of arthritis
The smiling face of a happy young girl belies the pain and suffering she has to endure. In fact, eight-year-old Emma is so brave that she was chosen as a symbol of hope for others. Emma was struck down with systematic juvenile idiopathic arthritis four years ago. Despite the illness, which has necessitated frequent hospital stays and school absences, she hardly ever complains, and loves to play with Laura, her five-year-old sister.
As well as daily injections, Emma makes four or five trips to hospital a week and takes a whole range of drugs to reduce her pain.
Emma's bravery prompted the Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) to choose her as a "Champion of Arthritis" for its official research week last summer.
As a champion, she was presented with an award at a ceremony at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.
ARC Chief Executive Fergus Logan said: "All our Champions of Arthritis are ordinary people who do extraordinary things every day. Like Emma, they refuse to let arthritis get the better of them."
In a letter to the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Emma's father Ben wrote: "On behalf of all the family, I would like to express our enormous thanks to you for all your help and encouragement."
Historic meeting with surgeons at Supreme Grand Chapter
For the first time in its history, Supreme Grand Chapter received a presentation from non-Masons after its meeting on 13 February. Professor Sir Peter Morris, president of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), and a team from the college gave a presentation on the work of the Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Fund.
This was established in 1967 by donations of no more than £1 from each member of the Craft, and a Trust Fund of £514,780 was raised, the income from which was administered by the Royal College to fund research into surgery.
Jonathan Fountain, RCS director of development, described the working of the fund, commenting that since 1967 the income had amounted to over £2.5 million. Much of that went to funding Freemasons' Research Fellows carrying out specific projects, but in recent years "pump priming" grants have given to fund basic data accumulation to enable surgeons to apply to other grant-giving bodies for major financial support.
Sir Peter then introduced two Freemasons' Fellows who described their projects, warning that some of the audience might like to avert their eyes from the more gruesome slides.
Joanna Chikwe, of Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, described her work on heart valve problems. Arthur Lander, of Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, covered his research into possible links between organophosphate insectiside use and the development of osteoporosis.
The importance of pump-priming grants was shown by Anthony Lander, senior lecturer and consultant in paediatric surgery at Birmingham Children's Hospital. His grant had enabled him to establish preliminary data relating to a fatal gut disease in new-born babies, enabling him to go forwards for further funding.
Sir Peter Morris thanked those present for the funding that the Freemasons' Fund had already provided and would continue to give into the future. The audience certainly realised the importance of what had been achieved and the need for continuing support of the College's work.
The Royal College of Surgeons has given similar presentations to groups of Lodges in Brighton, Bristol, York and London.
The Grand Charity's £52,000 helps Strode Park stride forward
Established in 1946, the Strode Park Foundation offers residential and rehabilitation services for people with physical disabilities. It also provides registered nursing and residential care for 44 permanent and respite care residents, 60 places per week for day clients, life skills training for eight residential students and support to other disabled people in their own homes.
These services are offered to individuals from throughout England and Wales.
In 2001 the charity was seeking funding to establish a 'state-of- the-art' Rehabilitation and Respite Care Service for people who have suffered physical disabilities as a result of strokes, accidents and brain injuries.
To offer the ReAbility services, a new purpose-built wing would be required.
The wing will provide additional residential accommodation, a fully equipped physiotherapy facility, a dedicated speech and language therapy room and sensory stimulation rooms.
In October 2001 Reg Waiter, of the Council of the Grand Charity, presented a cheque for £52,000 to Dr Mark Rake, the Appeal Chairman, being payment of a grant to the ReAbility Appeal from the Grand Charity.
ReAbility chief executive Paul Montgomery hopes that the building of the new wing will start in early Summer 2002.
He said:"The grant from the Grand Charity was significant not only in size but in its timing. It gave us the confidence to go ahead even though we still had some fund raising to do."
He continued "The real boost was that it took us over the £500,000 mark which had been a key milestone. The grant gave us real impetus to go forward and we are very, very thankful."