A MAJOR grant has enabled Highbury School, Rastrick, to reach their monumental £250,000 target to refurbish and upgrade the school’s hydrotherapy pool.
Thanks to the donation of £30,000 from the Freemasons, which they secured through the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Grants, the school, which teaches children with physical and learning difficulties, can now start the work on their dilapidated pool.
Fund raising began in October 2010 and a parent led group set up the charity the Friends of Highbury to help with their efforts.
Thanks to W Brother Stephen Bray from the Lodge of Probity, the goal has now been reached.
He tried to secure funding last year but missed out. However, after joining forces with W Bro Austin Crowther and the Brethren of Ryburn Lodge they combined their efforts to jointly sponsor the appeal this year and were successful in awarding one of the largest grants ever to Highbury.
Mr Bray was inspired to help the school when he met former pupil Leanne Barnes. His partner Julie Priestley worked as Leanne’s support worker and she quickly became a family friend two years ago.
“She told us about how hearing how she was once a pupil at Highbury and goes back to help out on a placement so we decided to try and help.
“After attending several meetings of the Friends of Highbury it was plainly apparent that this was a very worthy cause indeed.
“It is people like Pam Sellers, Kiersti Dickinson, Leanne and all the people who work tirelessly in all of the these organisations that inspire the Freemasons of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding to do all that they do to help raise money for all these organisations.”
The group attended the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Masonic Grants presentation evening a the Royal Armories in Leeds which was hosted by BBC’s Look North Harry Gration.
The evening saw £160,725 given to charities including the Maurice Jagger Centre, in Halifax and the Disability Partnership Calderdale.
Starting in October 2010, the school and Friends of Highbury group started their campaign. The hydrotherapy pool plays an invaluable role in the pupils’ learning and experiences at the school for children with disabilities and learning difficulties.
In February 2011, the school received a massive boost when Mr Eddie Sandiford left £100,000 in his will for the school.
The school is now at a stage where it has drawn up plans to start work on the pool, which is expected to start when the children break up for the Summer holidays.
Head Pam Sellers said: “We are very grateful for the donation from Stephen and the Freemasons.”
“It is overwhelming the work what Friends of Highbury and everyone else involved as done.
“The donation we received of £100,000 gave us the boost and belief that we could reach our target and we are now at a stage when we can start work.
“Hopefully the upgrades will secure the pool’s future for the next 25 years and play an important role in the community.”
Friends of Highbury has raised £42,000 so far for the school and chariman Donna Waterhouse said: “It’s phenomenal how much we have raised.
A lot of hard work has gone into this and it is well worth it seeing the end result and achieving our goal,” said Donna.
“I just want to say a massive thank you for all the support and help,” said Donna.
“We have a good time fund raising and support from the local community has been great.
“Obviously our inspiration comes from the children and we are always looking at other ways of beneﬁting the children.”