The Liverpool Group has again held a ‘giving day’ to disburse the charitable donations they received. The informal event took place in the Roman Suite of Liverpool Masonic Hall, with most of the Liverpool Group officers being able to attend. This included the chairman Mark Matthews, vice chairmen for both Craft and Royal Arch Dave Johnson and Dave Kemp and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson.
The first of the charities to receive a cheque was SMILE Liverpool. This was put forward for consideration by Tom Walsh, whose wife has found that since contacting and joining the SMILE group, she has found great benefits in coming to terms with her health issues and has made many new friends. Tom has noticed the tremendous improvements it has brought to the wellbeing of his wife and it has been influential in helping her adapt to living with pain.
They are a registered charity helping chronic pain sufferers live a normal life, despite the ongoing pain they live with. SMILE is an acronym of Self Motivation in Lasting Endorphins, and SMILE Liverpool is a well-established charity that has been operating since June 1998 and has successfully helped to establish other groups across the country. They host weekly meetings and is self-financing through weekly and annual subscriptions, plus regular fundraising activities and charitable donations. Costs of attending the meeting is kept to a minimum and is extremely good value for money, considering they have the use of a fitness therapist and Tai Chi instructor, plus the added bonus of free tea and coffee (along with biscuits usually donated by the members!). One of the most valuable aspects is the warm welcome given to family and friends at SMILE, as it helps them see they are not the only people suffering through chronic pain. Indeed, they are positively encouraged to be involved with the subsidised outings (for members) and fund-raising activities throughout the year.
The group receive excellent support from the doctors and staff at the Walton Centre Pain Management Programme (PMP). Dr John Wiles is the honorary president and Dr Eric Ghadiali (co-founder of the PMP) is one of their trustees
The cheque of £500 presented to SMILE by Sam Robinson and Mark Matthews, on behalf of the Liverpool Group, was well received by Joan Robinson and Gordon Hanson and will help tremendously towards the running of the charity.
The second cheque, also for £500, was presented by Sam and Mark to Tracey Kelly and her colleague, who accepted the donation on behalf of ‘Unique – The Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group’. This is a charity which was nominated by Steve Lyon and supports children and adults who are affected by chromosome disorders, which around one in 200 babies are born with. They are often sick and severely disabled and doctors don’t always know what the future holds. That’s where ‘Unique’ comes in, they understand chromosome disorders and are able to support families and provide them with much needed information and support. The donation from the Liverpool Group to the charity will help in alleviating some of the cost involved in supplying the care, support and expertise needed by the children and their families.
After the presentations, everyone sat down for an informal lunch and chat, giving the recipients a further chance to explain the workings of their particular charity and how the funds are used in helping where most needed.