Inspiring the young

It is always a proud and happy moment when Freemasons can donate funds to a local cause that will ultimately help local people. One such occasion was when a cheque for £25,000 was presented to the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes, who are undergoing an exciting programme of regeneration.

Diana receiving the £25,000 cheque from Tony.

Diana receiving the £25,000 cheque from Tony.

The cheque was presented by the West Lancashire Provincial Grand Master, Tony Harrison. The Science and Technology Project will enable young people in the Widnes and Runcorn area to experience the fun and challenges of science and chemistry. The redevelopment of space within the building will enable the Catalyst to undertake more community engagement. The aim being to enthuse children into learning about the sciences.

The Catalyst museum is the only one in the UK that explores the science and technology behind the chemical industry and its impact on our lives past and present through a host of hands-on exhibits, activities and demonstrations.

Tony was accompanied by one of his assistants, Kevin Poynton as well as Neil Pedder, the Widnes Group Chairman. Representing the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity were Steve Kayne and Mark Mathews, the CEO and chairman respectively along with John Gibbon, the Vice Chairman of the Widnes Group.

Tony is pictured checking his eyesight!

Tony is pictured checking his eyesight!

The Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs was also present as he has a long-standing interest in the work the Catalyst do in Runcorn.

Tony remembering his school chemistry……

Tony remembering his school chemistry……

After the cheque was presented a tour of the museum was given. It was an interactive tour where the entourage were able to get their hands on laboratory equipment and perform some experiments for themselves. Fortunately, no damage was done although flames and sparks did fly as the experiments were in progress! Part of the donation will fund an interactive exhibit once the ground floor science gallery is completely refurbished.

Currently the reception area, shop and café are being renovated and should be open to the public at the end of February. Other work in the building will continue with a high-tech theatre offering more space and this will be opened in October. In the meanwhile, pre-booked school and sleepover groups will continue as normal throughout this period.

Dr Diana Leitch MBE, Chair of Trustees at the Catalyst said: “I am delighted that the West Lancashire Freemason’s have agreed to support the Catalyst in such a generous way with this donation. Having new interactive exhibits will enable the Catalyst’s educational offer and draw new visitors, particularly families.

It is pleasing that Widnes Freemasons are involved as the Catalyst is set in the heart of community life in Widnes and the main building which dates back to 1855 has been so since that date when it was Gossage’s soap works.

David and Tony learn how to create sparks!

David and Tony learn how to create sparks!

My own family were part of that community and its history. Local and regional support from organisations like the Freemason’s is particularly welcome in the Catalyst’s efforts to raise funds to undertake and maintain their educational and heritage work.”

Freemasons from across the Province of West Lancashire, which includes parts of Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria have contributed to the grant that comes through the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, which is funded entirely from donations by Freemasons and their families.

Tony Harrison said: “This project will be of great benefit to the community, inspiring young people, many from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn, enquire and think, creating hope and opportunity for the future. I’m very pleased that West Lancashire Freemason’s are able to support the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in their mission.”

More information together with the latest news can be obtained at the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre www.catalyst.org.uk

The team are pictured in the theatre, which is about to undergo modernisation and expansion.

The team are pictured in the theatre, which is about to undergo modernisation and expansion.