Ben Jones is a 14-year-old boy who suffers with Mowat-Wilson Syndrome, a condition which is estimated to affect 1 in 50,000 to 100,000 births and can manifest itself in many forms. Ben suffers with global developmental delay, hypermobility, epilepsy and is non-verbal as a result of the condition. Despite these difficulties Ben is a happy boy who loves to spend time with his family and friends. Indeed, he is known within the family circle as a thrill seeker who loves anything that involves movement and speed.

Ben’s family have been working tirelessly to raise money to buy a specially adapted trike and accessories that would allow Ben to spend quality days out with his family and friends whilst remaining safe. Sadly, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, fundraising initiatives were brought to a halt. It was then that W. Bro. Allan Jones, a member of Gordon Mark Lodge No. 364, and Ben’s Grandfather, brought Ben’s plight to the attention of the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W. Bro. Brian Ward, to see if there was something that the Mark Benevolent Fund (MBF) could do to help.

Brian immediately approached the Provincial Grand Almoner, W. Bro. Peter Hayler, and between them they put together a petition for the MBF to consider. Within 6 days of receiving the petition the MBF Trustees awarded a grant of £4,000 to enable the purchase of a specially adapted trike for Ben. When W. Bro. Allan was given the news by the Provincial Grand Almoner he was understandably delighted and full of praise for the speed at which his enquiry was dealt with by the Provincial team and the MBF.

Allan commented: “I recently read W.Bro. Brian’s latest Newsletter, in which he had asked for ‘people to draw to his attention suitable charities for the MBF to support.’ I duly sent him an email outlining Ben’s situation, but must admit that I did not expect much to come from it. How wrong I was! W. Bro. Brian was excellent in his handling of the request, as was W. Bro. Peter, who forwarded the request to the MBF. My son is ‘over the moon’ with this generous donation as he can now move forward with the purchase of the trike. Hopefully, this shows once again, how members’ donations do make a difference to worthy causes.”

On hearing that the application had been approved by the MBF, the Provincial Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Archie Torrance said: “This is a perfect example of the benevolence and charity functions in the Mark Province of Kent working together to bring about real change. I commend the work of Brian Ward and Peter Hayler in bringing this petition to a successful conclusion and I extend my sincere thanks to my fellow Trustees at the Mark Benevolent Fund for their speedy and generous support for Ben.”