Congratulations to W.Bro Alan Forrest of Tyne Lodge No.991 and Buddle Lodge No.3937, both of which meet at Wallsend Masonic Hall, on completing his marathon attempt of walking the West Highland Way, from everyone at Northumberland Freemasons.
It was his intention, for many years, to walk the incredible 96 mile, from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William. Having now retired, he started the organisation of his attempt at the end of 2021, and decided to complete it for Teddies For Loving Care, which he has admired and supported for many years.
Locating his caravan on the banks of Loch Lomond, and using it as his base camp, he started the walk on 21st April, from the centre of Milngavie, taking time out only to relocate the caravan twice, finally arriving in Fort William on 3rd May.
His aim was to raise £500 but with the amazing and wonderful generosity of Brethren, family, friends and even other walkers he met along the West Highland Way, he raised the fantastic sum of £2,100, with the additional support of Gift Aid recouped from the Government.
From the start of the walk right to the end, he carried one of the Teddies, named Mr Ted, on the back of my rucksack together with his donation box.
Alan explained “Meeting and talking to people from various parts of the world along the way, was itself, an amazing experience. Many people enquired about the charity, having seen Mr Ted hitching a lift on my rucksack, l was delighted to explain to them what the TLC charity was all about and equally promoting Freemasonry. The very kind generosity that l received from fellow walkers (who l had never met before) was overwhelming and in particular, during these difficult financial times yet there was no hesitation from them to place money into my charity box.
I completed the West Highland Way in nine days and am extremely grateful to my wonderful wife Sue who was my amazing support and backup. She dropped me off each morning and picked me up at the end of my days walk.”
The Teddies for Loving Care initiative provides unique cuddly bears to Accident & Emergency departments for medical staff to give at their discretion to young children. The bears are used to calm children down, reward them for being brave or to demonstrate procedures. Often the bears distract children so nurses and doctors can get their jobs done quickly and efficiently. The TLC teddy has become an invaluable tool for medical professionals and a real comfort for children.
The work of TLC is funded through the generous donations of Freemasons, their families and supporters of the programme. There are 47 regional TLC programmes across England and Wales that provide teddies for their local A&E departments.
Find out more about the fantastic support provided by the Teddies For Loving Care at https://teddiesforlovingcare.org.uk/
Many thanks to W.Bro Alan Forrest for the submission of this article.
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