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Devon Masons fund new medical equipment store at children’s hospice

Peter Balsom cuts the ribbon with Henry Dunn, aged 4, watched by fellow Masons Trevor Jenkins, Brett Varker and Paul Howard-Baker, CHSW Chief Executive Eddie Farwell and head of care Tracy Freame.

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons Devonshire has made a £10,000 donation to Children’s Hospice South West.

The money to fund a new medical emergency equipment store at the charity’s Little Bridge House children’s hospice near Barnstaple in North Devon was raised through the Devon Mark Charity Association’s 2022 Project, a celebration of the centenary of the association.

The new store will enable care staff to store specialist equipment for children with a range of complex care needs, meaning families will not need to bring all their equipment when they come to stay.

Right Worshipful Brother Peter Balsom, the President of the Devon Mark Charity Association, and the Provincial Grand Master of Mark Master Masons of Devonshire, visited Little Bridge House to present the fundraising cheque to CHSW Chief Executive and co-founder Eddie Farwell, and cut the ribbon with four-year-old hospice user Henry Dunn.

Mr Farwell said: “In the 24 years that we have been here we are always looking at ways to improve the service we offer and this generous donation from the Devon Mark Charity Association does just that. 

Their support is very special and it was hugely rewarding to be able to show members just how their donation will benefit Little Bridge House.

Tracy Freame Head of Care at Little Bridge House, added: “The old store was very small, and it was quite challenging to access the equipment we stored out here, the new store makes it so much easier for the team.

“Many of the children who use the hospice have very complex health care needs and this additional storage space allows us to keep equipment they require, and also helps families as they don’t have to transport bulky equipment with them when they come to stay.

“The new storage space also has excellent practical benefits in terms of deliveries at the hospice.”

Little Bridge House supports nearly 200 local families a year and offers them vital respite and the chance to recharge their batteries while making special memories.

Mr Balsom, who was accompanied by association Chairman, Worshipful Brother Trevor Jenkins, Vice-Chairman, Worshipful Brother Brett Varker; and Provincial Mark Charity Steward, Worshipful Brother Peter Balsom cuts the ribbon with Henry Dunn, aged 4, watched by fellow Masons Trevor Jenkins, Brett Varker and Paul Howard-Baker, CHSW Chief Executive Eddie Farwell and head of care Tracy Freame.Paul Howard-Baker, visited the children’s hospice to mark the completion of the project. They were given a tour of the hospice to see for themselves how the charity helps families.

Mr Balsom said: “Devon Mark Master Masons are celebrating 100 Years in 2022 and this donation to Little Bridge House is part of a project to donate at least £100,000 to deserving causes within Devon. All the funds are raised from our own members within Devon.

“Other donations have been given to causes in Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter, the total so far being £51,000.

It is essential that Mark Master Masons work within the local community and these projects are visible evidence of our intentions.

"All those who attended the presentation were moved by the excellent facilities being provided at Little Bridge House for a group of special people.”