Funding Support in 2018

The Mayor’s Charity Appeal

The Mayor of Durham, County Councillor John Lethbridge, has offered his heartfelt thanks to the City’s Freemen for the boost to his annual charity appeal, which is destined this year to go to the Royal British Legion.

Councillor Lethbridge, a retired teacher, was handed a £1,000 donation by the Chairman of the Charitable Trust, Eric Bulmer, when he and his wife Sandra attended, as guests, the Freemen’s Annual Dinner in the Town Hall.

The charity provides support to Members and veterans of Britain’s armed forces, as well as their families and dependents and was chosen, said Councillor Lethbridge, because of the “historical significance” of its work this year.

“I have a growing awareness, through the events I have attended and the contacts I have made, of the breadth and purpose of this charity. It is with gratitude and a degree of humility that I accepted the Freemen’s very generous donation,” he added.

Remembrance Parade

Following an application from Advisory Group of the Durham City Remembrance Parade, the Charitable Trust agreed to provide a donation of £500 towards the continuing development of the Remembrance Day event.

The Freemen once again formed part of the civic procession and attend the service at the Cathedral on Remembrance Sunday.

The Chairman of the Charitable Trust presented the cheque to Arthur Lockyear, representing of the Remembrance Day Advisory Committee at our Annual Dinner.

Durham Hospital Radio

All patients at the University Hospital of North Durham will enjoy the benefits of a financial injection from the city’s freemen that will underpin the development of radio broadcasts throughout the complex.

The hospital’s broadcasting service, first established in 1963, is currently run by a 14-strong band of volunteers. They have recently been working with the hospital trust to restore a network that will “entertain and inform.”

Currently live broadcasts go out three nights a week but that is soon to be extended to four and at weekends running match commentaries throughout the season are broadcast from St James’s Park, the Stadium of Light and Durham Women’s Football from the city’s Ferens' Park. Occasional athletics meetings, regattas, brass band recitals and choir concerts are also broadcast.

In addition an unmanned internet-based system is capable of offering pre-recorded programmes and music 24-hours a day to every one of the 440 beds across 16 wards.

A donation of more than £700 from the freemen has been used to buy a lap-top computer, headphones with a boom mike and a VOIP telephone which will help to introduce telephone interviews for broadcasting purposes. These items will enable the team to add a high-tech polish to all broadcasts.

Terry Clough, chairman of the service for more than a dozen years, said: “Our primary function is to provide a bedside service to every patient within the hospital and we are now exploring ways of reaching outpatient departments, staff and visitors.

“All those working within the service are dedicated amateurs but the freemen’s generosity gives us the ability to buy key pieces of equipment that will improve output and give a more professional edge to the high standards we set ourselves in relation to both a personal service to patients and sport. The VOIP phone will enable us to introduce two-way telephone interviews with people both within and outside the hospital complex.”

Eric Bulmer, chairman of the wardens of eight surviving guilds of freemen, whose links to the trades people of the city are believed to stretch back nearly 700 years, said: “It is a privilege to support a charity that has been providing, through its group of dedicated volunteers, such an invaluable service over a long period of time to the many tens of thousands of patients who have required treatment in our local hospital.”

Redwood Lodge Roof Repair

In response to an application on for support from Jean Foulds, Chair of Redwood Lodge Management Committee to help fund the cost of replacing the roof membrane of Redwood Lodge, a site visit to gather more information was undertaken.

The building in Church Street has been well maintained, but the asphalt roof which is about 15 years old is at the end of its expected life and is leaking. It is planned to replace it with a much better product with the lifespan of between 20/25 years.

 Redwood Lodge is well used by the Guides, Brownies and Rainbow groups and has a regular local Thai Chi class. together with the occasional use by groups from St Oswald’s Church andSt Oswald Court residents, for coffee morning events etc.

An application for support for help was received from Redwood Lodge, towards the cost of replacing the roof membrane. The ‘Trust’ agreed to provide funding of £1000.

St Nicholas Church (St Nic’s) Recovery Group

A request for support from the Vicar of St Nicholas Church to help in assisting the recovery of alcohol or drug users. The group is locally based in the ChurchHall, but is not a religious organisation.

Members of the Charitable Trust met with the leader of St Nic’s Recovery Group and were informed of the difficult work undertaken by volunteers.As well as being a locally-based group supporting the community there are historical links between the Freemen and St Nicholas Church which is adjacent to the Guild Hall.

The Charitable Trust agreed to make a donation on of £250.