Provincial Almoners Letter from Andover

Dear Brethren All, 

I hope that you have all been able to enjoy a very Happy and beneficial time with your family over the Festive period, circumstances permitting. We have had a wonderful get together with the family over a number of days. I am conscious though that some of you have been suffering ill health which has prevented you from such enjoyment. I trust that you will soon be back on your feet.

Today will see me preparing food ready for tomorrow as it will be Pat’s birthday and I have invited the family to share time with us and partake of a running buffet. We do have some who are unwell so I will have to see how many are able to visit.

Pat was in the garden on Thursday cutting back some of the shrubs but the ground is still very wet and not conducive to digging. There are however some daffodils beginning to shoot and are about two inches tall already, we hope that the frost does not return and kill them off. It has been fascinating to watch the wild birds feeding and, while it was very cold, attempting to bathe themselves in the bird bath which became iced over. Some mornings the lawn is blessed with many sparrows or starlings, which soon disappear when the pigeons start arriving.

I believe that the Mark Provincial Appointments are being sent out, congratulations to all brethren who have received such communications and I am sure that they are well deserved. Please enjoy your term in office and I trust that you will support the Provincial Grand Master and his Executive Officers on their respective Official visits.

This, once again, has been a testing year in many ways. However I am amazed at the lengths some people will go to in an endeavour to help others. I have a couple in mind but am fully aware that there are many unsung heroes in this country. Firstly I salute Kevin Shinfield, who, in order to help his great friend Bob, who is suffering MND, has run five marathons in five days to raise money and awareness of this awful condition. I have met two people who have died from this disease, one thing about most sufferers is, in my opinion, for all the helplessness they find themselves in they somehow do not lose their sense of humour. Another person that I have much admiration for is Jay Blade, if you do not know him, he is the inspiration behind The Repair Shop, which Pat loves to watch. Here is a man who has his own mental health issues but appears to delight in helping others. If you are not aware he also has a programme called, “Jay’s Yorkshire Workshop.”  In this presentation he uses people who have physical and mental issues but who wish to help others, construct bespoke items of furniture. These items are then given to others who have been nominated for carrying out good works in the community. Thankfully there are many others out there willing to go that extra mile for others.

I wish you all a Healthy and Peaceful New Year, hope to see you soon.

Malcolm Lloyd, G.S.D., Prov. Grand Almoner