It all started when a Southend freemason’s wife was rushed to A&E and members of his Lodge proposed a small donation to say thank you. However, Neil Beverley thought they could do more and came up with the idea for ‘Teddies for Loving Care’. Essex TLC launched in March 2001 and has since spread to 47 freemason provinces across England and Wales.
Bedfordshire’s two hospitals at Bedford and Luton have received over 29,000 teddies. Martin Wilson, provincial charity steward for Bedfordshire Freemasons, recently delivered new supplies of teddies to both Bedford and Luton, which prompted Isabella Gilmore at Luton to write;
“A huge thank you to Martin Wilson and the Freemasons of Bedfordshire for donating these Teddies for Loving Care (TLC Bears).
“This wonderful donation will be used to benefit our Paediatrics A&E Department. A hospital visit can be a frightening experience for a young child, especially in an emergency situation. Giving a TLC Bear is a way of providing much-needed comfort to children in A&E departments, helping to reduce the shock and distress of their experience.
“Thank you for your ongoing support and generosity.”
The bears can be used to demonstrate procedures on, and can distract children so nurses and doctors can get their jobs done quickly and efficiently.
The work of TLC is funded through the donations of freemasons, their families and supporters of the programme.
Many Freemasons also volunteer hundreds of hours each year to manage the scheme, deliver bears to hospitals, campaign to raise funds and increase awareness through events and talks.