Freemasons Help Make The Tree House Adventure a Reality

Bro. Peter Hill, Lord Mayor of Bradford for the year 2010- 2011 chose for his charity to raise funds for a new inclusive play area at the Nell Bank Outdoor Education Centre in Ilkley West Yorkshire. The existing play facility had been enjoyed by some 300,000 school children over its 15 year life and seriously needed replacing.

The aim was to have adventure play suitable for children of all abilities that would stand for many years to come. This was obviously going to be a costly project and so the Lord Mayor, proposed via his Lodge, The Three Graces No. 408 in Haworth and kindly seconded by Victoria Lodge No. 2669 of Bradford, applied for a major grant from the Province of Yorkshire West Riding Provincial Grand Master’s Charity in 2011.  Happily this bid was spectacularly successful and the fund benefited from a mighty £20,000.

This made all the difference and allowed the framework to be made of galvanised steel, set in concrete foundations with all the woodwork in weather resistant oak.

After a design competition,  won by superb Architects WM Saunders and builder’s B & H Construction  who toiled through rain, ice and snow in one of the worst winters in recent memory, the Tree House Adventure was completed in time for the annual Nell Bank open day on May 11th 2013 attended by  Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Stuart Grantham and the Chairman of West Riding Masonic Charities, Roger Newhouse.

The opening ceremony was conducted by Bro. Peter Hill accompanied by the Provincial Officers and before the speeches were completed, the new facility was already being enjoyed by the children present.

Bradford Council runs this outdoor education centre in partnership with the Nell Bank Board of Trustees, a mix of Councillors and lay members responsible for developing and raising funds for new buildings and amenities. Bro. Peter Hill sits on the board of Trustees.

Nell Bank is noted nationally as a leading outdoor education centre catering for children of all backgrounds, without limits to either physical or mental abilities, so the new play area needed to be accessible even to those in wheelchairs.

This resulted in a circular ramp design that will eventually include climbing frames for a wide range of abilities, slides and also a safe pipework tunnel system below the structure.

Bro. Peter Hill with W. Bros. Stuart Grantham and Roger Newhouse.

Posted in Charity News on June 12th, 2013 by David Clough

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