The volunteers of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity spend their Wednesdays in Huyton. On this occasion they met up at the Singleton Lodge and Country Club at Poulton-le-Fylde for a farewell lunch organised by Jim Hardman who works in the central applications department of the charity to commemorate the retirement of Jim Woods as the Central applications office manager and Grant executive.
Unfortunately, early in 2015 Jim suffered a stroke which left him incapacitated. so much so that he was forced to retire because of ill health. As most of the brethren involved in the WLFC know, Jim’s dedication and knowledge of the charities is second to none. A more dedicated Mason would be difficult to find.
Jim joined the charity at its inauguration in April 2008 when the West Lancs charities merged to create the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, under the guidance of the first CEO Roy Skidmore. Jim worked alongside Roy in setting up the edits and systematic workings of the office system.
Jim’s commute from the Fylde coast to the charity office was no mean feat in itself travelling over 150 miles a day, often leaving early in the morning and arriving home late at night and bearing in mind that all the volunteers at Huyton are just that, unpaid volunteers who give up their time along with the many lodge almoners and members of the care team, for the good of those in a less fortunate position than themselves.
There is hard work ahead for the future at WLFC, with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation system of calculating need being implemented. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation measures the minimum income standard of the applicants – this has been utilised by Grand Charity for some time now and has proved successful. A new software system is also being installed and will be up and running in the New Year – Jim’s expertise will be greatly missed.
The brethren and their wives arrived at the Singleton Country Club at Fylde on what can only be described as an awful day weather wise. The surroundings were superb with a herd of alpaca’s grazing around the ground. The welcome inside was however, a more warm one as brethren were met by Jim and his wife Pauline and it was a delight to see Jim looking like his old self, as his mobility is greatly improved and although he is still using a stick, it will be a long time before it is designated for the bin. A tough old goat is our Jim.
After a splendid luncheon followed by coffee and mints, David Fairclough arose to give a toast to Jim much to the acclaim of all present. To which he responded and was emotionally moved. David then went on to present him with a personal gift from all his friends and colleagues and a magnificent bouquet of flowers for Pauline.
George Skarratts, one member of Jims team at central applications said: “May we all across the Province and indeed his close friends and colleagues at the WLFC in Huyton offer a big resounding thank you to Jim for his many years of dedication to our very worthy cause and may you Jim have a speedy return to good health and happiness – you will be sorely missed.”