Last weekend (4 December to 5 December), the Widows SonsÂ MasonicÂ BikersÂ AssociationÂ (West Kent) held its annual Toy Run, where 14 members dressed up as Father Christmas and elves to deliver 555 gifts to children via motorbike.
The kids received toys, games and gifts purchased with donations received from local Freemasons. The members of Widow Sons (West Kent) bought nearly Â£4,000 worth of toys – which resultedÂ in a till receipt which measured more thanÂ two and aÂ half metres in length.
The gifts were shared with more than 20 charities, including CASPA, Bromley Mencap, Bromley and Croydon Women’s Aid, Bromley and Downham Youth Club, Bromley Y, Bromley Gypsy Traveller Group, Crystal Palace Community Trust and a number of local churches.
Mark Estaugh, head of Freemasonry in West Kent, said: â€œAt this special time of year, itâ€™s both an honour and privilege for West Kent Freemasons to be able to recognise and support the important work undertaken by local charities operating within our Province. The annual Toy Run is organised by our members who are also part of the Widows SonsÂ MasonicÂ BikersÂ AssociationÂ (West Kent), andÂ workÂ tirelesslyÂ collecting toys and cash donations from our Lodges and individuals with the aim of providing a little joy and happiness to those less fortunate children living within the community.â€
The Mayor of Bromley, councillor Nicholas Bennett, was also present at the event with Mark. Together, they watched as leather-cladÂ bikersÂ rode past with Christmas music blaring from the back of their motorcycles. Nicholas commented: â€œWe want to express our thanks to the West Kent Freemasons: their generosity and kindness means that kids who would have otherwise gone without, will receive a gift this Christmas. They should all feel very proud to be a West Kent Freemason.â€
Helen Laryea-Dyer, the Chair of the Bromley Children and Families Voluntary Sector Forum, said: â€œThis incredible event means that hundreds of children in Bromley, who otherwise may not get a Christmas present, or who are experiencing difficult times in their lives, will be able to receive a lovely gift. Thanks also go to the charities who make sure they get them – and to the Freemasons who have collected and delivered them. This is a unique and beautiful experience for all involved, and we are so grateful for the generosity of all those who have donated and delivered.â€
Pre-pandemic, collection points were placed inÂ eachÂ MasonicÂ centre across KentÂ so members could donate toys. However,Â in the past two years, the Widows Sons have asked for financial donations instead for Covid safety reasons. This has also meant that the Bromley Children and Families Voluntary Sector Forum has been able to request specific toys that are better suited to ages of the children being supported.
The aims of the Widows SonsÂ MasonicÂ BikersÂ AssociationÂ (West Kent) are to promote motorcycling within Freemasonry, increase MasonicÂ awareness within the world of motorcycling, raise funds for charity, and support membersâ€™ Lodges.