Masonic Lodges across Bath have come together to help bereaved families at the City’s Royal United Hospital.
The Royal Albert Edward, St Alphege and Royal Cumberland Lodges have raised £5,000 for the RUH’s ‘Forget-Me-Not’ Child Bereavement Suite in the maternity unit. This project will provide grieving parents with a safe and comforting space to spend time with their baby.
The Masons are planning to fund a new corridor and Memory Wall to the suite, providing privacy for parents at what is a very difficult time for the families. At present parents in need of the Child Bereavement Suite have to walk along the main maternity corridor, past rooms with families celebrating with their newborn babies.
The new corridor will provide a quiet, private and direct entrance to the Forget-Me-Not Suite, avoiding the hustle and bustle of the main ward. A Memory Tree will be painted along the wall of the corridor, commemorating the babies that have so sadly been lost.
The money was raised through the Lodges’ Ladies Festival in May – a black tie event, with much food and music. Linda Davis, a midwife at the RUH, was delighted to attend and gave an emotional speech explaining what was needed and how it would help to comfort and support newly bereaved parents.
The suite will be named Forget-Me-Not, a link to Freemasonry which dates back to the late 1930s following Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, when the flower was adopted as an emblem for German Masons to wear in place of the square and compasses. At the time Freemasonry, with its ideals of humanity and tolerance, began to be persecuted by the Nazi regime. As a result, German Freemasonry was forced underground, and this small flower allowed Masons to identify other brothers in public as well as in concentration camps in Europe, where many were sent. In 1948, the Forget-Me-Not was adopted as the official Masonic emblem of remembrance in honour of the valiant Masons who carried on their work under extremely adverse conditions.
The Forever Friends Appeal, which is aiming to raise £8.5 million towards a new cancer centre to replace the outdated wartime oncology department at the RUH is incredibly grateful to the Bath Masonic Lodges for their generosity and hard work.
Community fundraiser at the appeal, Lydia McGivern, said: “It has been an absolute honour to work with the Bath Masons this year – a truly generous and kind group. The difference that their fundraising will allow for our bereaved parents is difficult to put into words, and all I can say is that we really are so grateful.”
“We have loved learning more about this organisation this year and their incredibly rich history, and we certainly hope to continue working with them and learning more in the future.”