During the past 11 months W Bro Dan Thomas and his fiancée Jenna Slater have been leading the members of St Peter's Lodge No. 7334 in raising funds for local Birmingham based charity Autism West Midlands and on Friday 23rd September saw the handover of a whopping cheque for £11,000!
The decision to support this charity came after Jenna saw first-hand how difficult even the simple things in life can be for families and carers of children with autism.
While out with the couple’s own children at a local funfair, Jenna came across a lady who had taken her autistic grandson along for the day. It was clear that the young boy wasn’t coping well with the surroundings of the funfair and that the lady was struggling to get him up off the floor to return to her car. Jenna with two children in tow, could see that people were just walking by and ignoring them. Eventually Jenna managed to find someone willing to help her. Once the boy had calmed down the lady explained the difficulties she had taking part in things most people take for granted, so after researching local charities and seeing how Autism West Midlands could help they decided to support them during W Bro Dan’s year as Master.
W Bro Dan brought the lodge together to raise funds for the charity. On top of donations from the Brethren, they had a range of events and activities; these included two ladies’ nights, one themed to the 1920's where local companies were brought on side donating gifts and prizes to be raffled and auctioned. A lodge team entered the Great Midlands Fun Run and Jenna led the ladies of the lodge in a 'Gung Ho!' Muddy Run raising over £2,000 alone, there were cakes sales and Bro Bill Daykin (JW) and his twin Charlie celebrated their 65th and donated their birthday money to the cause! And not to forget W Bro Dan faced his nemesis after being nominated by Charity Steward Bro Dave Jagger and jumped out of an airplane at 10,000 feet!
W Bro Dan said, 'It's been a tremendous year where myself and Jenna have had 100% support from the lodge in raising funds for a brilliant local charity where we know the £11,000 raised will make a huge difference to people with Autism and their families and carers in the West Midlands, I can't thank everyone enough for their help, it just shows what we can achieve when we work together.'
Vanessa Bailey, Fund Raising Manager said, 'With your amazing support we will be able to continue to support families to gain strength, confidence and further understanding of an autism diagnosis. Our Family Support Teams provide a range of services to help those with autism and their families. Support in the home, sibling workshops, dads' groups, advice and awareness sessions, stay and play sessions and youth groups are just a snapshot of the work that they do throughout Birmingham. From all of Autism West Midlands, and our families that we support, we want to say a big thank you to all who have got involved in the fundraising with St Peter’s Lodge.'