Freemasons fund for disabled kids

Clifford Drake, deputy head of Aylesbury and Bucks Freemasons
Clifford Drake, deputy head of Aylesbury and Bucks Freemasons

Aylesbury Freemasons have raised more than £10,000 to help disabled children in the town.

The 11 lodges and six chapters at the Ripon Street masonic centre have contributed to the PACE Centre.

The fund was set up by the deputy head of Aylesbury and Bucks Freemasons, Clifford Drake, to mark his stepping down from the role this October.

Some £10, 000 has already been pledged, and more is gradually coming in.

Mr Drake trekked 22 miles across the middle of the county in a sponsored Ridgeway Walk, from Bledlow to Ivinghoe Beacon, in aid of PACE.

The PACE centre in Aylesbury needs more than £1m a year to help disabled under-fives throughout Buckinghamshire.

Mr Drake said: “I am so grateful to Aylesbury Freemasons who have enabled me to go out on a high point. They have really lived up to our values of friendship, decency, and charity.”

The 67 year old, from Camberley, was the first of around 50 walkers – some half his age – to complete the trek.

“You’re only as young as you feel,” he boasts.

The identity of his successor is due to be announced soon, when he will step aside to become the organisation’s communications director.

He says: “The past eight years have been amazing.

“The 4,000 or so freemasons in the county have embraced change enthusiastically.

“We now use modern communications techniques like the media and the internet to inform the public about our centuries’ old organisation.

“As a result, we have around 120 new members coming forward every year who want to make a real difference to their community.

“I am delighted. Not least because it shows our values of friendship, decency, and charity, are timeless.”