Holiday saved for caring kids

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YOUNG carers in the city will not miss out on a much-needed holiday break thanks to Bletchley Freemasons.

Carers MK had been planning to close their holiday scheme – which helps to give children who look after disabled family members time off from their responsibilities at home – after a funding shortfall caused by a lack of donations.

Fortunately, Bletchley Freemasons stepped in at the last minute with a £6,000 gift, meaning organisers could breathe a sigh of relief.

Charity worker Sarah Panes said: “MK Freemasons were our last chance to save this vital programme.

“We were just working out how to explain to people that it was ending, when we got the news at the eleventh hour.

“I can’t thank them enough on behalf of the 12 kids whose lives will be transformed next year.

“It is all thanks to the Freemasons.”

Members of St Martins Lodge, which meets at the Masonic Centre in Queensway, Bletchley, threw a summer ball which raised more than £2,000.

They then contacted Freemasons in Slough and Bucks, who came up with an additional £4,000.

Freemasons’ Mike Blane presented the cheque to Ms Panes, who is the Young Carers Support Worker for Milton Keynes.

He said: “We were horrified when we discovered the scheme was going to close so we did all we could to turn the summer ball into a spectacular event.

“But it still wasn’t enough. So we made some calls and our brother Freemasons in Bucks and Slough answered our plea.

“Even I was surprised with their generosity.

“It really brings a tear to your eye.”

The donation will also help to secure the charity’s monthly youth clubs, providing further support to youngsters who care for other family members, even though they are children themselves.

Clifford Drake, the deputy head of Bucks and MK Freemasons, said: “St Martin’s Lodge members and their families who supported the event have exemplified our values of friendship, decency and charity.

“They have really proved that Freemasonry transforms people’s lives.

“And I congratulate them all.”

For more on Freemasonry’s charitable and social activities in Milton Keynes, visit www.buckspgl.org