ISSUE 16, January 2006
Editorial
Historic: Sherlock Holmes incarnate
Travel: In the Footsteps of the Incas
Sport: Batting for England
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Supreme Grand Chapter: First Grand Principal's speech and Committee of General Purposes
Royal Masonic Girls' School: Stories in windows
Specialist Lodges: Brotherhood of the Angle
    Napoleonic Wars: A Mason's Word
International: Macedonia: New Grand Lodge consecrated and Enthusiasm unbound
Grand Lodge: Development of Freemasons' Hall
Masonic Rebels: Rise and fall
Bristol Museum: A Phoenix from the Ashes
Freemasonry and Religion: United in diversity
Library and Museum: Most glorious of them all
First Aid: Masons learn to shock
Education: The Third Degree and Forthcoming events
Masonic Charities, Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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Above
A typical desk top configuration

As anyone who has worked on a networked computer will know, technical support is essential and Lifelites provides full on-site and telephone assistance through professional third party providers.
    The project also enjoys the benefit of a network of Masonic Support Teams – volunteers who give up their time and expertise to ensure that the nursing staff and families get the most from the equipment provided.
    The support of these teams is invaluable and team members have seen for themselves the advantages that the Lifelites project provides. Typical comments have been,
    “If we can give the children some quality of life during their stay at the hospice then the project is a success”;
    “Of all the facilities available at a children’s hospice, the Lifelites equipment is the most used”; and “It’s good to know that we are helping these young people to continue their education and also keep in regular contact with friends, family and other children across the country with similar experiences.”
    The value of the Lifelites project is reflected in the recent comments of Dalton Leong, chief executive of The Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, who said: “We are extremely grateful to be the recipients of the generous donation of IT equipment from the Lifelites project.
    “The difference it will make to children with life-limiting conditions is summed up by one of our first guests, a 12-year-old girl who, when she arrived for a week’s respite stay and saw the equipment, said: ‘Wow! This is incredible. I can’t wait for tomorrow.’
    “Bringing that level of instant joy really shows how our children and their families will truly benefit from the use of the equipment, which will enhance the quality of lives, where every second counts.”
    Over the past five years Lifelites has become a victim of its own success. When the project began it was anticipated that there would be 30 participating hospices by 2008. The reality is that by the close of 2005 there were already 34, and by 2008 numbers may well have risen to 40. This far exceeds original expectations. In 1999 the RMTGB provided £7.5 million to fund the project – only about half now remains.
    If Lifelites is to continue its work it needs to raise £500,000 each year. This will go towards upgrading and maintaining existing installations as well as providing new ones.

Les Hutchinson is secretary to the Council of the RMTGB

How YOU can support Lifelites

Lodges have asked about donating one Lodge alms collection annually to the charity and there have already been many approaches from individual Freemasons interested in making a personal donation.
    Lifelites Gift Aid envelopes are available. You can telephone the Lifelites office at the RMTGB (020 7405 2644) and they will be sent to you free of charge.
    Key to the success of Lifelites will be its ability to seek funding from corporate sponsors as well as from the Masonic community. If you have any suggestions for corporate sponsorship, please send them by email to Lifelites@RMTGB.org.
    Be in at the beginning. If you would like to help, you can do so now. Please give your support to the newest Masonic charity. Cheques made payable to ‘Lifelites’ should be sent to: Lifelites, RMTGB, 31 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AG or you can donate online at the Lifelites website at www.lifelites.org.
    The website tells you more about Lifelites and gives details about how you can arrange for a speaker to attend your Lodge or fund-raising event.

Lifelites at Ty Hafan

“Here at Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice we have benefited from the Lifelites education and entertainment technology almost since we opened six years ago.” says Sandra, the hospice’s Activity Team manager.
    “The ‘edutainment’ value for our children cannot be underestimated. The equipment is used on a daily basis. Whatever the ability of the child, the system has the relevant components to meet their needs.
    “The computers are used by the whole family and, often, parents can be seen surfing the net, alongside their offspring who are playing games – or vice versa!
    “All of the computers are in constant use, and the camera and printer are particular favourites for downloading images and using Paint Shop to create wonderful pictorial images that are treasured memories for us and the families. In fact, anything that moves seems to be photographed at Ty Hafan!
    “Added bonuses have been wireless technology – an advantage for many of our children, particularly those with muscular dystrophy – and the touch screen for our less able children.
    “Many of the children who have limited use of their arms have found the webcam and the games that come with it a great way to use the computers. It is important that they are not excluded.
    “Having constant access to the internet has been a boon. From helping with the children’s homework to downloading information on their favourite groups, footballers and film stars. Many a time a young man can also be seen searching for their favourite female wrestler!
    Parents have often used it to research into their child’s condition and gain further information.
    “Of course, none of this would work with out the back up of our local Masonic Support Team. We are grateful to the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys for the provision of this service that is much valued.”


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