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Last Saturday W. Bro Andy Vodden, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Devon Freemasons, paid a visit to the Hollow Lane Club, a registered charity which works within the Ellen Tinkham School in Exeter. There he met Mary Roche and Deb Ward two of the leading lights of the charity and presented them with a certificate denoting a grant of £15, 000 which had been made via the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF).

Mary established the charity over 26 years ago and is dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and young people with special needs and Deb joined her over 20 years ago as their administrator, the dedication and enthusiasm for what they do comes through as soon as you meet them and their team of over 80 staff.

The Hollow Lane Club provides out of school activities for children with complex special needs and their siblings across three locations in Devon. Children and young people aged between 3 and 25 with learning and development delay, many have multiple issues including physical disabilities, challenging behaviour, autism, visual impairment, speech, and language problems.

Mary Roche, Andy Vodden and Deb Ward
The Animal Man and his Python with the children.
The Animal Man showing his Blue Tongued Skink
Click images to enlarge 

Participation in leisure activities is essential for the personal development of children, they want to go to clubs with their friends and enjoy activities as would any young person but need extra support to make it possible. The Hollow Lane club aims to reduce the isolation experienced by these children, helping them to develop positive relationships and essential life skills by engaging in stimulating activities. It runs from two special schools in Devon, Exeter and Dartington, the club is financially independent of the schools and raises all its own funds. It offers a year round programme of activities including After School Clubs, Saturday Clubs, Siblings Clubs and a Summer Club.

Hollow Lane look after over 200 children and there is a huge demand for more places.

On the day Andy visited two groups were out visiting locations around Exeter and a third group were meeting “The Animal Man” who was there with a Python, a Blue Tongued Skink and an Armadillo, the photos attached show the fun the children were having when meeting and touching the reptiles.

Andy Vodden enjoyed meeting both the organisers and the children and said

...that it’s only when visiting the clubs and associations that the Freemasons help with funds that one can really appreciate the hard work and passion of the people who give so much time to helping those in need and thanked Mary and asked her to thank all her team for what they do on his behalf.

Mary Roche and Deb Ward thanked Andy for the wonderful donation to their club saying that although the last 2 years had been very difficult the funds would be of great value now that a little normality was returning to everyone’s lives.

W Bro Clive Eden PAGDC
Provincial Grand Communications Officer