nene local | helen dawson


Category: News from our Area

Freemasons Invited to Volunteer for Vaccination Drive

The Freemasons are encouraging its 200,000 members to roll up their sleeves and volunteer to help vaccinate the population.

To help protect all UK citizens during this difficult time, the Freemasons have also offered their lodges to administer the vital jabs and many buildings are being used as Covid-19 vaccination centres.

More than 100 Freemasons from Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire have volunteered with St John’s Ambulance to help the NHS Covid-19 vaccination team. St John’s Ambulance is providing full training for the volunteers, while the Freemasons have made their buildings available to the St John’s logistics team.


NHS frontline staff members are also administering the jabs at the Freemasons building in Essex. Meanwhile, Freemasons in south Wales are opening the doors of Barry Masonic Hall to local medical practices to help in the mass vaccination against Covid-19, from 21 January.

Two halls are also being used as vaccination centres in west Kent. At the Westwood Masonic Centre in Welling, more than 2,000 people were vaccinated on 9-10 January 2021, while the Tunbridge Wells Masonic Centre opened its doors for vaccinations on 14 January.

In addition, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, is encouraging Freemasons to donate their time and efforts to help fight the virus. It also emphasised that those volunteering should not participate if they are in an at-risk group.

Freemason Alec Hurley is a retired RAF senior medical officer and a self-employed medical examiner for the Civil Aviation Authority. During these difficult times, he is back on duty working 12-hour shifts three times a week for clinical Covid-19 assessment, and as a clinical supervisor at the Stevenage super hub for vaccinations.

In many provinces, Freemasons are volunteering to help. In Devonshire, Lincolnshire, Leicester and Wiltshire they are assisting at vaccination sites, while in Dorset they are driving ambulances and working as volunteer vaccinators.

More than 100 Freemasons from Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire have volunteered with St John’s Ambulance to help the NHS Covid-19 vaccination team. St John’s Ambulance is providing full training for the volunteers, while the Freemasons have made their buildings available to the St John’s logistics team.

Meanwhile, in Cheshire, Freemasons are working with the Clinical Commissioning Group to provide the local Masonic Hall as a major vaccination hub to protect patients.

The UGLE campaign is being carried out through its monthly email to members and official social media channels. The idea is to reach as members as possible, to encourage them to help immunise the population.

Dr David Staples, chief executive of the UGLE, said: “In 2018, more than 18.5 million hours of volunteer work were undertaken by Freemasons. Now that we have the vaccine in the UK, it is crucial that we help in every way we can to protect the population. If the NHS needs people, then we are happy to encourage and emphasise the importance of this to our members.

“We want to support the NHS and show our gratitude for its people’s efforts and the amazing job they have done during the pandemic. Freemasons always stand behind our core values of friendship, integrity, charity and respect – and we are proud to help so many people.”

According to the NHS, more than six million people had received a vaccine by 28 January. Britain has ordered 140 million vaccine doses – enough to protect the entire population. But the NHS faces a race against time to protect everyone before a possible new wave.

More than ever, efforts to vaccinate those most at risk from serious illness are now paramount, and there is a need to ensure that the NHS has as many volunteers as possible. To help the NHS in the vaccination campaign, volunteers should sign up at:

Volunteers will then receive an email with login details to sign up online and be asked to download the GoodSAM app, which will match the person to their area.

GOPO for Joint Health – We use it!

GOPO Joint Health 


GOPO has been evaluated in numerous rigorously-conducted, placebo-controlled, clinical trials involving hundreds of patients with difficult-to-treat chronic joint conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Efficacy results have been consistently positive and evidence supporting the benefits of GOPO has been presented around the world at numerous clinical meetings and many studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals. 




Laboratory studies into GOPO have demonstrated that it can switch off certain genes responsible for producing proteins and enzymes that have been implicated in inflammatory joint destruction and switch on genes that help to produce collagen and cartilage, which are essential components of a healthy joint. This suggests that when taken long term, the galactolipid GOPO may protect cartilage cells and help to rebuild joint tissues.

High levels of the galactolipid GOPO are found only in GOPO Joint Health.

 gopo joint health


GOPO® Joint Health is also rich in vitamin C which is essential for normal collagen formation, needed by the body for healthy bones and cartilage

When I received my sample

I googled all the great benefits of Rose Hip – and found it was not only high in Vitamin C and great for joint health, it was also fabulous for the immune system too – so in the current climate, why would I not try GOPO!  The tablets are quite large, but you are allowed to open the capsule and sprinkle the conents on cereal or something if you struggle to take them.  I’ve found after around three weeks on them, my knees have improved.  My knees would actually squeak when I went up stairs – they are now silenced!  I am however, awaiting improvement in a dodgy elbow, but would add that a three week trial is a little short so far, so expecting improvement soon.

GOPO Joint Health is available from Boots, Amazon, supermarkets and independent chemists nationwide and is priced at £19.52 for 120 capsules and £29.60 for 200 capsules. 

Visit for further information. 


Willingness to Take Part in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Across Region

Thousands of people across the East Midlands are putting themselves forward to take part in COVID-19 vaccine research trials driven by a desire to generate faster results and to help others in their community, according to new research revealed today.

Council and police hold joint patrols to support pandemic restrictions

A survey carried out in the region reveals that more than two in three (69%) people would consider putting themselves forward to take part in research to find a vaccine to slow the spread of the virus.


Amongst those who said that they would consider taking part in vaccine research, the most powerful motivations included supporting research to deliver faster answers (85%) and helping others in my community (59%). Three quarters of all respondents (76%) identified support to help with transport and childcare as something that would encourage them to volunteer to take part in research.


The findings, released by the Centre for Black and Minority Ethnic Health in Leicester, and the NIHR Clinical Research Network East Midlands, come from a survey conducted to understand more about attitudes towards vaccine research and how they differ across different communities.


Research studies are testing the effectiveness of a range of candidate vaccines to determine their safety and efficacy before those that are successful are rolled out to the general public. An essential part of trials is ensuring that they work effectively for people from different communities. The data and responses from this survey are being analysed to inform the creation of content to inform and encourage members of the public to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials.


The findings show that attitudes towards research participation change over age. Six in ten (62%) of respondents aged 18-44 said that they would consider taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research, rising to three-quarters (77%) of people aged 45+. In addition, the survey found that people from White communities were more likely (76%) to say that they would consider participating in research to find a vaccine than those from Asian (53%) and Black (38%) communities.


Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of the NIHR ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said:


“We are proud to be delivering vital vaccine research in the East Midlands and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has signed up to support this important work. It is essential that vaccines work effectively for people from all backgrounds, and the results of this survey are helping us to better understand the different motivations and barriers that can affect participation in research. We will be using the findings to encourage all research sites within our region and beyond to ensure that research is as inclusive as possible.”


The survey results also indicate that people with previous experience of either receiving a vaccine or taking part in research are inclined to do so again. The proportion of people who said that they would consider taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research rose to 74% amongst those who received a flu vaccine last year, and 78% amongst those who have previously been involved in clinical trials.


Professor Khunti added:


“It is extremely pleasing to see that people who have a history of either taking part in research or receiving a flu vaccine are more likely to consider joining the research effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19. This is testament to the positive experience of research that the overwhelming majority of participants have, and shows that people who receive vaccines are clear about the benefits of doing so and the impact that a vaccine for this virus could have.


“The news on vaccines in recent weeks has been incredibly uplifting, but there is more work to do. We need people to continue signing up to support COVID-19 vaccine research so that we can test a range of different vaccines and ensure that we find vaccines that can protect as many people as possible. I would encourage everyone across the East Midlands to step forward and be part of this enormous research effort.”


So far, over 28,000 people across the East Midlands have signed up to support COVID-19 vaccine research through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, with over 350,000 registrations from across the UK. The registry enables researchers to quickly contact people who have expressed their interest in taking part in vaccine trials to ensure that studies can be delivered quickly and effectively.


Research teams across the East Midlands have been involved in the delivery of three COVID-19 vaccine trials. To find out more about research and to sign up to support vaccine research, visit

New Local Charity – Ailsa’s Aim

We are delighted to introduce our new charity, Ailsa’s Aim.  Founding trustees, Sara and Niven Whatley, say;

“The object of Ailsa’s Aim is to relieve the needs of persons in England and Wales who suffer from cancer or gestational diabetes or have experienced premature and problematic childbirth and their families and carers; in particular, but not exclusively, by the provision of support, items and services and signposting to other relevant and appropriate services.”

What we actually do is to create, source and deliver some of life’s little personal comforts to those in need, ailment and distress, and to offer ‘a ray of sunshine’ into people’s lives. For this reason, our slogan is “Putting You First.”

Our campaigns have so far included: giving comfort and cosmetic care bags to parents of children in Special Care; providing Christmas presents and treats to children on Children’s Wards in hospitals; sending Fathers’ Day gifts to Dads in SCBU; providing care bags to NHS and Key Workers during the Covid-19 Pandemic; providing and filling snack stands to hospitals; installing Baby Changing facilities in Cancer wards; running auctions and events for donations to research into cancer treatments.

In 2018, having struggled for 6 years to conceived, we were finally successful with IVF treatment, however the pregnancy was traumatic and at the premature birth of our daughter, we discovered that Sara had 3 very advanced and rare forms of cancer and would need intense chemotherapy and that Ailsa would also need Special Care.

Nevertheless, thanks to Sara’s and Ailsa’s strength and determination and the skill, care and expertise of the NHS, Ailsa has grown into a healthy and happy toddler and Sara has recovered incredibly well and is in full remission.

We began running Ailsa’s Aim as a charitable cause to repay those who have helped us and to support and offer care packs to others who are going through or helping with medical issues similar to those we ourselves have faced.

Through Ailsa’s Aim we raise funds and awareness and to provide care packs to people from all aspects of our journey, as well as to the carers and staff who work tirelessly to make sure that we can enjoy the time we have together.

We have already completed a series of successful campaigns professionals in Kettering General, Northampton General, Charing Cross, Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, CARE community services, Ovacome and the Imperial Health Charity.

We are now in a position to seek donations, volunteer assistance and new liaisons with support organisations, both local and national, so that we can continue to build on the early work we have done.

We are run entirely on donations and our own personal efforts and input, so any support which people can afford us will always be gratefully accepted.

There are several ways to donate to or support our cause, depending on your preferences.

Please contact Sara on 07919536833, on Facebook @ailsasaim, or via email to enquire.