Every Essex jumper literally took a step into the unknown, a leap of faith: three words that can mean so much when stepping off a crane into thin air with only a cord as your lifeline. It puts a whole new meaning to the phrase 'of my own free will and a cord'.
Provincial Grand Charity Steward W Bro Colin Felton, coordinated a Masonic bungee jump on Saturday 29th September for 10 Essex brethren, the general manager of Saxon Hall Robert Potter, and Rachael Phillips, daughter of Cliff Phillips of St Laurence Lodge, No. 5511. They all took that leap of faith when stepping off the platform approximately 160ft up to bungee jump, all to raise money for Lifelites.
RW Bro John Michael Webb, Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Essex, has highlighted Lifelites as a 'Friend in Need', this being one of eight Essex-based charities that Essex lodges are supporting following the concentrated efforts in previous years to support the 2011 Festival for the Freemasons' Grand Charity. Lifelites started out as a pilot project in 1999 with the idea of providing education and entertainment technology for children in hospices. Since then, their work has expanded to meet growing demand, and now has 44 children’s hospices throughout the UK.
Through the power of technology and high tech entertainment, Lifelites is the only charity striving to give children in hospices the chance to spend quality time with their families, the means to keep in contact with their school and friends, and simply to enjoy themselves away from the constant reality of their illness. Despite recovering from poor health, Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro Nigel Catchpole, who was originally planning to jump but was unable to due to doctor's orders, was also in attendance to support the jumpers and give them that push - I mean support! - they all needed.
With over £3,000 donated online, and a further £4,000 from fringe events and lodges, this event was a huge success. Deri Jones of Lifelites, who is responsible for fundraising, was also there and was very pleased with the attendance and support from the Essex brethren, commenting that he would like to arrange another, and this time actually in Essex.
Lifelites needs £18,000 a year to provide the vital equipment needed for children's hospices in Essex, so our support to this local charity really is the heart of Essex Freemasonry.