For the fourth year running, Berkshire Masons have organised a toy appeal for underprivileged children, who are under the care of Reading Family Aid, and those seriously ill children in the three children’s wards at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
With the support from the RWPGM, the appeal was funded by a £6,000 grant from The Berkshire Masonic Charity. In addition to the financial support from the BMC, volunteers to deliver and purchase the toys came from several lodges within Berkshire.
The planning for this event started in October and once the “orders” were received the sourcing of the toys began. This proved more difficult than in previous years. However, after many diligent hours in front of a computer, several hundred different toys were ordered. After ordering came the long task of crosschecking and then boxing the toys up for delivery to the RBH and Reading Family Aid.
The first batch of toys were delivered to Reading Family Aid on 3rd December 2018. Reading Family Aid have over 1,700 children under their supervision throughout the Reading area and Ruth Perkins, chair of the Charity, was overwhelmed by this support from Berkshire masons. In addition to the toys, all the surplus goody bags from our successful Panto trip on 4th December 2018 were given to the Charity. These goody bags were then given to special needs children, who the Charity took to a pantomime at the Hexagon in Reading on 8th December 2018.
The toys for the hospital were delivered on Monday 17th December 2018. Then, on Christmas day, they were given to children in the Lion and Dolphin Wards and the Buscot Baby unit. There was a huge range of toys, from X boxes, computer games through to the old-fashioned board games. The matron and nursing staff were overwhelmed by our generosity and the children and their families, thoroughly enjoyed their individual gifts. Emma Stone, from the RBH said: “These were wonderful gifts that help make Christmas Day for those children who had to spend it in Hospital. Thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness.”