A group of motorcycling Santa’s helpers paid a Christmas visit to ex-servicemen and their partners who are integrating into the community after serving in the armed forces.
The visit to Launchpad in the Newcastle area of Byker was arranged by Mike Ewart, President of The Northumberland Chapter of the Widows Son’s Masonic Bikers Association.
He, together with a number of his masonic colleagues brought gifts for everyone, a huge platter of fresh fruit and mince pies a plenty.
Launchpad provides veterans with accommodation (their own refurbished, one-bedroom flat) and communal facilities, for which they pay rent, either using housing benefit or income or savings, for up to two years. The charity aims to get its veterans into employment and permanent housing, and contributing to society within two years.
President Mike Ewart said; “When you listen to some of the experiences these men have had in their military career and learn how society has treated them when they left the armed services, it makes you want to reach out and help.
“However, we can only help in superficial ways like donating Christmas presents but the work that Launchpad does to help get them set up again in society is tremendous and deserves our support throughout the year.”
Simon Lock, manager of the Avondale Centre said.
“It was great to see the Widows Sons today and our residents enjoyed talking bikes with them. Visits like this go a long way to integrating them into society and helps to build their self-confidence and sense of worth.”
The Widows Sons is open to all Freemasons who enjoy the sport of motorcycling and together they help to raise awareness of the work of the organisation as well as raising much needed funds for charity. This year, they have taken part in the organisation of the Greggs Children’s Cancer Run, raised funds for IT equipment for special schools, donated to The Dragonfly Trust for Cancer and they have also supported Northumberland Blood Bikes.
Last year, Northumberland Freemasons gave away more than £600,000 to local charities while nationally, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity is dedicated to helping people in need, and has donated over £100 million since 1980.
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Photo shows Simon Lock ( Blue Jacket ) With Mike Ewart and residents and Widows Sonsby