Ben Jones is a 14-year-old boy who suffers with Mowat-Wilson Syndrome, a condition which isÂ estimated to affect 1 in 50,000 to 100,000 births and can manifest itself in many forms. Ben suffersÂ with global developmental delay, hypermobility, epilepsy and is non-verbal as a result of theÂ condition. Despite these difficulties Ben is a happy boy who loves to spend time with his family andÂ friends. Indeed, he is known within the family circle as a thrill seeker who loves anything thatÂ involves movement and speed.
Benâs family have been working tirelessly to raise money to buy a specially adapted trike andÂ accessories that would allow Ben to spend quality days out with his family and friends whilstÂ remaining safe. Sadly, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, fundraising initiatives were brought to aÂ halt. It was then that W. Bro. Allan Jones, a member of Gordon Mark Lodge No. 364, and BenâsÂ Grandfather, brought Benâs plight to the attention of the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W. Bro.Â 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 betweenÂ them they put together a petition for the MBF to consider. Within 6 days of receiving the petitionÂ the MBF Trustees awarded a grant of Â£4,000 to enable the purchase of a specially adapted trike forÂ Ben.Â When W. Bro. Allan was given the news by the Provincial Grand Almoner he was understandablyÂ delighted and full of praise for the speed at which his enquiry was dealt with by the Provincial teamÂ and the MBF.
Allan commented:Â âI recently read W.Bro. Brianâs latest Newsletter, in which he had asked for âpeople to draw to hisÂ attention suitable charities for the MBF to support.â I duly sent him an email outlining Benâs situation,Â but must admit that I did not expect much to come from it. How wrong I was! W. Bro. Brian wasÂ excellent in his handling of the request, as was W. Bro. Peter, who forwarded the request to the MBF.Â My son is âover the moonâ with this generous donation as he can now move forward with theÂ purchase of the trike. Hopefully, this shows once again, how membersâ donations do make aÂ difference to worthy causes.â
On hearing that the application had been approved by the MBF, the Provincial Grand Master,Â R.W. Bro. Archie Torrance said: âThis is a perfect example of the benevolence and charity functions inÂ the Mark Province of Kent working together to bring about real change. I commend the work of BrianÂ Ward and Peter Hayler in bringing this petition to a successful conclusion and I extend my sincereÂ thanks to my fellow Trustees at the Mark Benevolent Fund for their speedy and generous support forÂ Ben.â