THE manager of the Oswestry and Borders Foodbank has thanked Freemasons that hold the town close to their hearts for donations of more than £3,000.

Liz Jermy, who manages the foodbank in Beatrice Street, admitted she was surprised to discover that Freemasons in Oswestry and from as far away as London who have strong links to the area, had donated £3,100 to their cause.

She said the donation – which came out of their respective lodges and was match funded by the Freemasons’ charity arm – came out of the blue.

“The combined giving of the Masonic Lodges including matched funding from their charity arm came to £3,000,” he said.

“We are very appreciative of this giving – this was a surprise and was offered by themselves during the lockdown.

“The generosity of the giving community in general has been astonishing and it is continuing to be so.

“This has enabled the Oswestry and Borders Foodbank to remain open throughout the pandemic, ensuring sustainability and continuing availability to the vulnerable community.

“We have been here nearly 10 years now and the last three months has definitely presented us with the most challenges on every front, so we are incredibly grateful to the wonderful and supportive community who have blessed this work with food, toiletries, pet food and financial gifts, including the substantial gift from the Masonic lodges, which enables us to help those who need it the most.”

The foodbank, which provides assistance to people living in the Oswestry and Ellesmere areas, has seen a big increase in demand for its services due to problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of The Wrekin Lodge, which was founded in 1902 by members of The Shropshire Society in London to provide a meeting place for Shropshire masons in London to meet, have strong links to the county and return each September to hold their meeting.

The secretary of the Lodge, Andrew Symon, grew up in the town as the son of local GP Hugh Symon, and his mother Philomena was mayor, being elected as a Freeman of the town in 1992.

Their donation of £600 to benefit the foodbank and this sum was further increased by £500 by the Shropshire Masonic Charitable Association to reach a figure of £1,100.

He said: “We meet regularly in Oswestry and felt strongly that we’d like to support the community which has provided us with such a warm welcome on many occasions.

“We are delighted to be able to offer some help to such a much-needed resource, provided by so many dedicated volunteers.

“We are looking forward to returning to Oswestry once the restrictions allow us.”

As well as the donation from the Wrekin Lodge, members of two local Lodges, Fitz Alan lodge and Cae Glas Lodge, who both meet in Oswestry each month also donated £1,000 to the foodbank.

This has been doubled by the Shropshire Masonic Charitable Association.