Charities small and large recently gathered to attend The Bucks Masonic Cheque presentation event which took place in new surroundings. Still in Aylesbury, the event took place at the Holiday Inn on the outskirts of the town. It was held in the afternoon, instead of its usual evening slot and was attended by both the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Mrs Julia Upton MBE and the new Mayor of Aylesbury Mike Smith.
In his first speech as Mayor, Mike Smith, commented on the success of the occasion and the huge variety of charities who had benefitted. Over the course of the afternoon in excess of £120,000 was received by over 20 different charities.
Among the many recipients was Aylesbury Women’s Aid who received a cheque for £800 from W Bro Martin Lucas on behalf of Cymbeline Lodge. The centre shelters and supports women and children escaping domestic violence. April Benson, who received the cheque on behalf of the centre, reported that the money would be used to arrange trips out and activities for children which would help them enjoy simple pleasures that have been lacking in the difficult situation in which they found themselves.
Val and Jon Corteen attended the event with their dog, representing Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. Val explained the many ways the dogs assist their owners in everyday life with each dog costing £47,000 over its lifetime to train and maintain. The scheme received a cheque for £2000 from W Bro Paul Dixon of Denham Green Lodge.
Rob Thomas from Amersham Lodge presented a cheque for £500 to Missenden Walled Gardens which supports young people with learning disabilities, providing help and experience to enable participants to access employment opportunities.
PACE representative, Carolyn Bennett, spoke about the difference early intensive support can make to children suffering from Cerebral Palsy and the ongoing support provided by a school established to aid development. She received a cheque for £350 from Stuart McCurry and John Morris of Chilterns Lodge.
Mr and Mrs Darayus Motivala, representing the MS Centre at Wendover. Mr Motivala spoke about the way Multiple Sclerosis progressively affects many functions of the body, impairing mobility, dexterity and even speech. The centre at Wendover seeks to assist sufferers with the things the NHS cannot provide such as ongoing physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and counselling. It also seeks to assist with the needs of the carers. All this comes at a cost of £1.1 million a year, of which only 5% is NHS funded. The rest has to come from fundraising. Peter Thomas of Vale Lodge presented a cheque for £500 to continue Bucks Masons support for the centre over recent years.