Chance conversation brings big benefits for charity

November 29 2018

FREEMASONS are supporting babies born with a cleft lip and palate following a chance conversation in a Stapleton pub.

Dick Smith, a freemason, had popped into the Masons Arms, a pub near Stapleton Masonic Hall, and starting chatting to landlord and landlady John and Julia Edgeworth.

Dick said: "Julia was aware that we masons raise an enormous amount of money for charity, so she suggested to me we might consider contributing to the Cleft Lip and Palate Association as it doesn’t get too much exposure.

"She also explained that her grandson, Stan, had been born with a cleft and CLAPA had been of great support. I did a little research and was surprised to learn how prevalent the condition was."

The conversation was food for thought for Dick, who found himself in a prime position to be able to help.

Dick said: "I was about to be installed into the chair of Gloucestershire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge so I needed to select a charity to benefit from the evening’s raffle. Here was my chance!  As usual, we welcomed masons visiting from other lodges far afield and amongst them I found a dental surgeon who had specialised in cleft palate operations. He was hugely complimentary about the work of CLAPA. There was also another mason whose wife gave awareness-raising talks for CLAPA. The response from the brethren was overwhelming and £360 was raised there and then."

Stan and grandad John joined Dick at the pub where a cheque was handed over to the charity’s regional engagement officer, Catherine Dougherty.  

"This will pay for the purchase of 18 special feeding kits," she said.    

Dick is now looking for other ways of raising money for CLAPA and is considering an approach to Gloucestershire Masonic Charity Action for a substantial donation.