Essex TLC, the founders of Teddies for Loving Care, are celebrating twenty years since they donated their first teddies to A&E units across the Province.
It all started when a Southend Freemason’s wife was rushed to Southend Hospital A&E and members of his Lodge (Thames Mouth Lodge No. 6994) proposed a small donation to say thank you. However, W.Bro Neil Beverley thought they could do more and came up with the idea for ‘Teddies for Loving Care’. Essex TLC launched in March 2001 and in that first year gave away 25,000 teddies; all paid for by donations received from Essex Freemasons. They have now provided comfort to almost half a million distressed children in Essex with the gift of a teddy.
Over the years the programme has grown to include NHS Walk-In Centres, the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance and an NHS specialist support team who counsel young children affected by bereavement.
The March 12th anniversary was marked by medical staff from hospitals across Essex posting photos of their latest teddy delivery. Further celebrations will take place in July when (hopefully) people will be able to mark the occasion properly.
The new Chairman of Essex TLC, Worshipful Brother Rob Whittingham, said:
Charity is at the heart of Freemasonry and helping the wider community to which we all belong is at the heart of what we do but without the support of Essex Freemasons, their families and friends, none of this would have been possible. Here’s to the next 20 years!
Today 47 Provinces across England and Wales have adopted the TLC scheme with further initiatives abroad including Ireland, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Cyprus.
Thanks to Freemasons generosity over 3 million teddies have been given to children in distress which is a wonderful achievement.
Essex Teddies for Loving Care can be found at www.facebook.com/tlcappealessex