The WM of Corinthian Lodge No 2350 Fred Parr and all the brethren of the lodge were delighted to welcome Stephen Gregory (PAGDC) to their regular meeting at Hindley Masonic Hall for an informative presentation. Stephen is the current president of the Association of Friends of Ecclesholme and was invited to attend the lodge to give a presentation to increase the knowledge of the brethren about Ecclesholme and to explain the role of the ‘Friends’ and how they fit in to the overall structure of the organisation.
Stephen explained that the gifts that Masons make, not only by donations to the charity plate and by various fund raising events for the home, allow the ‘Friends’ to fulfil their mission to enhance the quality of life of the residents. Stephen explained further that the costs for bricks, mortar and buildings upkeep together with costs for residents, has been covered since 2003 by the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. After giving a short history of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution homes around the North West, Stephen told how Ecclesholme had faced closure in 2002/03, when it was saved, and how it had gone from strength to strength and had now been designated a specialist dementia care centre where residents could, if they wished, stay until their final days. The ‘Friends’, in association with West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, East Lancashire Freemasons and the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution have recently spent £20,000 on landscaping the gardens to allow the residents easy access to a beautiful area named the ‘peace, love and unity garden’.
Admittance for residents into Ecclesholme, in line with all care homes, is not free of charge and it is not at the bottom end of the care home market. The quality of the care and the fact that all the care staff are very well experienced and have nursing
qualifications inevitably reflects in the cost. However, in cases where a resident has used their capital to a proscribed level, the local authorities will fund up to a set rate with Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution topping up the remainder so that no resident is forced to leave for financial reasons.
Stephen explained that the Friends of Ecclesholme really appreciate all the contributions they receive from Masonic sources, particularly in the North West, and with the continued support, Ecclesholme will continue to go from strength to strength. The presentation was very well received by all the brethren present and Stephen was thanked and congratulated by Fred Parr, which was echoed by other brethren during the three risings.
Following the closing of the lodge, Stephen joined the brethren for a fine festive board, during which a cheque for £110, the proceeds of a raffle, was presented to him in favour of the Association of Friends of Ecclesholme.