Toy Appeal Success! Pictured are Castle Grove Masonic Hall chairman Richard Bentley, left, and toy appeal co-ordinator Graham Shires
A toy appeal by Leeds Freemasons is bringing festive cheer to a number of local charities.
So popular has the initiative been that more than 300 gifts will be shared between four groups – Leeds Children’s Hospital, Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People, Leeds Children’s Charity, and Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.
The Castle Grove Masonic Lodges Festive Toy appeal was launched in November 2018, with the intention of bringing the various Lodges together to provide something tangible to young people in the local community.
Initially, the toys and gifts were to be donated to Leeds Children’s Hospital, however, the response proved so overwhelming that a large number of gifts were also donated to Barnardo’s.
This year, the number of charity recipients has been increased to four, including Leeds Jewish Welfare Board which will receive Chanukah gifts for 28 children under its care.
Leeds Freemason and toy appeal co-ordinator Graham Shiers said: “Once again, I’ve been absolutely staggered by the response of lodge members to the toy appeal.
“Since launching this year’s appeal in October, we have been inundated with both toys and financial donations. The money has been used to buy more gifts, including pyjamas and clothes for children living in poverty.
“I would like to thank the Masonic community who meet at Headingley’s Castle Grove for their generosity. Thanks to them, a number of children who may not have had a present to open on Christmas Day will receive at least one.”
Graham added: “One of the three great pillars that Freemasonry is founded on is charity, and charity is very close to our hearts.
“Each year the Province of Yorkshire West Riding presents grants totalling £200,000 to a wide range of organisations including schools, youth organisations, hospices and community clubs.
“We are very proud of our support of the communities we live and work in and these toys, gifts and clothes will go to four great charities that do so much for local children and their families.”