The Home Office reported that over 8,000 Afghans, who had worked with UK forces, and their families arrived in the UK during the evacuation from Kabul. Demonstrating their own state of readiness, Essex Freemasons jumped into action and assisted the British Red Cross (BRC) Afghan Crisis Appeal by providing basic essentials such as warm clothing, baby items and toothbrushes.
Feeling strongly about the plight of the Afghan refugees, Daniel Broyd, an Essex Provincial Grand Steward, and his wife Kristi encouraged local Freemasons to donate clothes, toiletries, toys and essential supplies for the refugees as they arrived in the UK. They also arranged for Braintree Masonic Hall to open its doors on Sunday 5th September 2021 to receive the donations.
Daniel said “The support that the Brethren, families and friends and even passing public bestowed on our venture was breath-taking, with several thousand pounds worth of new or nearly new clothes, toiletries, baby essentials, toys, art and crafts material and bedding donated.” With enough to fill a large Luton van, delivery to the BRC was arranged.
Charles Elliott, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, with his wife Sue supported the appeal and gave their own donations. The Centre Chairman, Andrew McLeod, who is an Assistant Principal to the Grand Principals in Essex Royal Arch Masonry, said, “A simple heartfelt request by Daniel and Kristi clearly resonated with fellow Masons and their families resulting in a fantastic response. I am very proud of the Braintree Masonic Centre and its members.”
The supplies were desperately needed by BRC staff at airports around the country as they welcomed Afghan families to the UK. One volunteer described the plight more graphically saying that the people turning up had nothing, children were so dirty you could see track marks down their faces where they had been crying and their clothing wasn’t suitable. Daniel Broyd added “I would like to thank everyone who donated and took time out of their Sunday to provide such kindness”.
Pictured from left to right: Sue and Charles Elliott, Mrs Wash, Richard Wash, Paul Duchar-Clark, David Giles, Andrew McLeod, Barry Broyd, Daniel and Kristi Broyd and John Adlam.