Freemasons’ £4,000 donation marks centenary

One of Mansfield’s oldest Freemasons lodges is celebrating its centenary by making the single biggest donation in its history - to help needy youngsters.

The Broxtowe Lodge, which meets at the Masonic Hall, in Nottingham Road, has handed out many thousands of pounds to local charities since it was formed in 1913.

Its 45 members are marking the organisation’s historic milestone with a £4,000 grant to charity A Place To Call Our Own (APTCOO) to upgrade a sensory room for youngsters who are disabled or who have special educational needs.

David Stoakes, said he was honoured to be Master of Broxtowe Lodge in such a significant year.

He said: “Broxtowe is only the third of the 13 lodges which meet at the Mansfield Masonic Hall to celebrate a centenary. On behalf of members I am delighted to make this special contribution to APTCOO as we know it does wonderful work in the area.

“In the past it was sometimes mistakenly thought that Freemasonry was an inward looking, secret organisation but this is not the case.

“One of the important ways we demonstrate our involvement within the community, is by the donations we make to charity in general, and local charities in particular, and many have benefitted over the years.”

Broxtowe Lodge was founded by John Harrop White, a former town clerk of the old Mansfield borough. It got its title from the name of the ‘hundred’, or region, of which Mansfield was the chief town.

Its Latin motto is ‘Alterum Alterius Auxilio Eget’ which means ‘Each needs the help of the other’. The lodge initiates at least two new members annually.

APTCOO works to improve the quality of life for children and young people aged under 25 who have a disability or special educational needs as well as their families and carers. Services include one-to-one and group support and a range of activities.

Broxtowe Lodge’s donation means the charity will be able to buy additional equipment for a sensory room at its base in Botany Park.

The equipment, to be installed before the end of the year, will include a water bed, ball pool, a bubble wall and a ‘musical squares’ feature.

The room is used almost daily by children and young people with a range of conditions including autism, challenging behaviour and a sight or hearing impairment.

The charity’s chief executive Carol Burkitt said: “Our sensory room is highly used by our children and young people with complex needs and often is the only opportunity they have to relax, enjoy and be stimulated by a sensory environment.”

Members also marked the centenary with a celebratory dinner at the Masonic Hall.