Thousands of tablets are being donated by Freemasons across England and Wales to help families stay in touch with their loved ones during the coronavirus crisis. Freemasons have provided the tablets to more than 50 hospitals, care homes and hospices across their regions during a nation-ide initiative.
During the current crisis, NHS hospitals have been forced to limit visits to patients in an attempt to control infections. Some of those suffering from the virus can be in intensive care for two to three weeks or more, with one-to-one visits only being allowed for dying patients. This has led hospitals to try to find a way to help patients communicate with their families during this difficult time. Freemasons have risen to the challenge and gifted more than a thousand devices to help patients see and hear their loved ones and provide much-needed comfort.
The donations were coordinated through a new COVID-19 Response Group, which was formed by the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) as an emergency structure in response to COVID -19. Its purpose is to work together to deliver life-changing initiatives – on a national scale – to those in need. Using the full capability of its network, the Freemasons have been able to draw together suppliers to source the tablets quickly and efficiently.
In Somerset 10 tablets each are being donated to Musgrove Park Hospital at Taunton; Yeovil District Hospital; Royal United Hospital at Bath; Weston-s-Mare General Hospital and 5 the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Musgrove Park: Adrian Robson of Admiral Blake 4692 who contracted COVID-19 and was treated at Musgrove Park Hospital presented the tablets to Nurses Victoria Burgess and Kirsty Lock. He told them “This is a very special moment for me. I owe my life to the nurses and doctors at this wonderful Hospital who are doing all they can to combat this terrible disease. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Kirsty said “I know these Tablets will make it easier for COVID-19 patients to keep in touch with their loved ones because they will be able to see their faces on the screen as well as talk with them. Thank you for this very generous gift.”
Yeovil Hospital: Adrian Watkins of Lodge of Brotherly Love 329, a Consultant Radiologist at the Hospital presented the Tablets to Sarah Cherry of the Hospital Charity outside the A & E Dept. Sarah was over the moon on receiving the tablets and thanked Adrian, the MCF and all of the Masons of Somerset for their kind gesture. The tablets were immediately whisked off to the IT department to have work carried out on them to allow the user to access Wi-Fi and the internet from their ward
Weston-s-Mare: Adrian Robson delivered a second bundle of tablets to Weston-s-Mare Hospital which were received by a delighted Rebecca Rafiyah Findlay, Public Relations Manager. Rebecca told Adrian “These Tablets are a very thoughtful and generous donation and will be very much appreciated by patients being treated for COVID-19. On behalf of the Hospital I would like to thank the Freemasons and their Charity the MCF.”
Bristol Royal Infirmary: Elliot Borthwick of Saltford 8633 will be presenting the BRI with 5 Tablets as soon as access can be arranged.
Bath – Royal United Hospital. The PGM, David Medlock personally delivered 10 Tablets to the RUH at Bath. David said “Provinces all over the Country have been doing their utmost to provide assistance with the Corona Virus Pandemic. Here in Somerset we have been manufacturing face shields for Care Homes, Doctors Surgeries and even the Police. We have supported Food Banks across the County and many of our members are in the front-line working with the NHS. Through our Freemasons Charity – The Masonic Charitable Foundation I am proud that we are able to offer these Tablet Computers to our local hospitals to help bring patients suffering from this terrible disease closer to their loved ones.” Margi Jenkins. ICU Matron accepted the Tablets on behalf of the COVID-19 Ward thanked David and said that they would be put to excellent and immediate use
Dr David Staples, CEO of the United Grand Lodge of England, said: “At this time of national crisis we will work together – within our local communities – to provide charity and support to those in need, as we have done for the last 300 years. To ensure what we do is both effective and targeted, we have – for the first time in our history – coordinated our activity on a national level though the newly formed Covid-19 Response Group. Our 200,000 members have united to make a significant difference to the lives of people in these very stressful circumstances.”
Thanks to: Yeovil Hospital – Scott Gibbons & Adrian Watkins; Musgrove Park & Weston District Hospital – Adrian Robson (Photo’s David Flack); RUH Bath – PGM David Medlock; BRI – Elliot Borthwick
Barry Davies Provincial Communications officer, Province of Somerset