Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

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For Lodge L8479 - St Mark.

WM presents a £500 cheque to Veterans In Action

On the evening of Monday 8th January the lodge received a very informative talk from Billy McLeod, CEO of Veterans In Action (VIA). The charity (Reg. No. 1128026) is based near Tidworth, the UK's largest garrison, and supports ex servicemen in their transition from serving military personnel to civilian life. Many of the ex servicemen being supported suffer from the mental scars of conflict. After the meeting the WM W. Bro. Mike Sharpe presented a cheque for £500 to Billy, to enable the charity to continue to do the great work it is already demonstrating.

VIA have a very active website and social media campaign and more details can be found at www.veteransinaction.org.uk

Billy spoke about the V-EX Overland expedition that the charity are running with the support of the MCF donation of £25,000. This project is to rebuild 4 Land Rover vehicles (a large number of the group, including Billy, are Royal Engineers). Those vehicles will then be run across Europe to Greece, and return. In total the group will visit 14 countries, including those in the Balkans where it is hoped that servicemen who supported the peace-keeping in Bosnia will be able to reflect on that work and to see how the local communities have been rebuilt since that conflict.

Any Masonic Lodge making a donation to the charity ahead of the expedition which is scheduled to depart at the start of September 2018 will enter a draw to have the lodge name included on one of the vehicles, along with the UGLE and MCF logos.

Billy also spoke about the work the charity is continuing to do in and around Tidworth. One of the successes is the establishment of a gym and boxing club that is open to civilians, current serving personnel and ex-service personnel. The site built with the support of the Royal Engineers, has helped break down the perceived barriers between the service personnel and civilians.

The WM and the brethren of the lodge are grateful to the VIA team who traveled down to give the talk, and recommend this informative evening to any other lodge.

The next meeting on Feb. 12th will be the past masters demonstrating a first degree ceremony.

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