A social organisation has raised an incredible £5,555 for us by making us its chosen charity since 2019.

The Mike Hinge Lodge is part of the Sussex Province of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, Grand Lodge of England (RAOB GLE), a philanthropic, social organisation which aims to support members, their families and local and national charities.

They chose us to fundraise for initially in 2019, after one of their members – Graham Matthews – sadly lost his father, a retired firefighter. Since then, they’ve continued fundraising throughout the pandemic and through to this year.

Graham was previously a firefighter himself, as was his uncle and also his brother Terry – who served for 25 years – so he knew about the support we offered, as did many of his fellow members.

“Each year we decide on a charity we’d like to support and raise funds for,” says Graham. “We were sitting in Lodge not long after Dad’s funeral and one guy suggested the Fire Fighters Charity. I immediately thought it was a good idea.

“In the first year we raised £1,000, but then we had the pandemic. In 2022 we started up again and we continued and we raised a further £2,000. Last year, they decided to continue supporting the charity, and we took the total to £5,555. We’d raised just under that, and we actually upped it to make it all the 5s.”

The group fundraises through their own donations, a calendar raffle (where they’d sell each day for £1 and then draw three winners from the days), and other events.

For Graham, supporting us is particularly personal, as he grew up hearing about us.

“I always remember when I was serving myself, we got called out on Christmas morning to a chimney fire. There was an older couple there, and at the end they went to give Dad £10.

“He declined it, but suggested they donate to the Benevolent Fund – now the charity. It carried on from there.

“I also know someone who’s been to Marine Court a few times and he’s told us at Lodge about it. It’s nice to hear about the support available, and where the donations go.

“I know Dad would be over the moon with our achievements, he served 38 years as a retained firefighter, many of those years as Sub Officer. Dad was a well-respected member of the community and was thought of highly and respected by all who served with him in the Brigade. He was lovingly known in a social environment by the crews as Grandad.

“Dad along with three of his brothers followed in his father’s footsteps, who also served as a firefighter until his death.

“Dad then inspired myself to become a firefighter and I served for a couple of years, and my brother Terry also served for 25 years reaching the rank of Sub Officer/Crew Manager and Temp Watch Manager. He retired in 2017.”

The group met with Assistant Chief Fire Officer Pete Rickard, as well as our Community Fundraiser Louise Furneaux, to present the cheque.

A huge thank you to all those involved in this fantastic fundraising. You can find out how you can get involved in supporting us too here:

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