Pedal power helps youngsters at Highfurlong School
Past Provincial Grand Master Peter Connolly and his wife Lynn joined Fylde Mark Masons for a very special outing to Highfurlong School in Blackpool on behalf of the West Lancashire Mark Masons’ Charity.  
Pictured is the new tricycle which was presented by Peter Connolly to Highfurlong School.
The Mark Masons who met up with Peter and Lynn included Fylde special representative John Foster, Jimmy Rogers (who later in the day was installed into the chair of Cleveleys Mark Lodge No 1176) and Ray Lamb. Ray’s wife, Joan, who is Chair of the Board of Governors of Highfurlong, welcomed the party to the school.
Joan Lamb helps with the demonstration of one of the previously gifted tricycles
- as Peter looks on.
Highfurlong School is one of the favourite good causes which the Mark Degree has supported over the years. The visitors heard from Joan that it is a co-educational community special school catering for pupils aged 2 to 19 years who have a wide range of special educational needs. These include physical disabilities, profound and multiple learning difficulties, speech, language and communication difficulties.
Previously Mark Charities and local lodges have presented the school with two specifically adapted tricycles and, though these were very much welcomed and much used by the youngsters at the school, only more able bodied pupils were able to take full advantage of them.  
Teacher Bev Holmes and Leanne try out the new model tricycle.
When Peter heard that children who were wheelchair-bound were missing out on the experience of tri-cycling he resolved to set that particular matter right and, after using some of that persuasive charm for which he is famed on the custodians of the charity board, the wheels (pardon the pun!) were put in motion.
A firm in Holland was sourced which engineered the £6,000 custom built tricycle, on which a child in a wheelchair could be comfortably and safely loaded and, with an able bodied cyclist pedalling behind, could experience the wind-in-the-face thrill of cycling which all children love.
Young pupil Taylor shows off his style of playing a Scoug to Miss Cherry.
In front of the assembled school children assistant head teacher Cherryl Drabbel introduced Peter and thanked the Mark Masons for a gift which meant that now every child could be included and have the opportunity to participate in rides on the new tricycle.
Cherryl went on to say that their visitors had been very generous in their support of the school and had one of the trikes which had previously been presented to the school put through its paces in the assembly hall.
Driving Miss Leanne – Peter Connolly has a go.
She reminded the children that the Masons had also gifted musical instruments going by the intriguing name of ‘Skougs’ which could be played by children of all abilities These were demonstrated by teacher Jasmine Cherry and one of her pupils Taylor who showed his skills by playing the Scoug in his favourite way- with his stomach - and who soon had feet tapping including Peter’s to the tune.
Cherryl continued that with the Masons’ gifts not only could all of the schoolchildren enjoy the sensation of playing music but they would soon also all have access to the sensation of riding a cycle.
A big thank you goes to Mark Masons from Leanne, Joan Lamb, Peter Connolly,
Bev Holmes and Cherryl Drabbel.
Following three hearty cheers from the children Peter responded by saying that it was that it was a great pleasure to back at Highfurlong School and that he was delighted to be able to be bringing something which could be enjoyed by every single youngster.
Without further ado Peter insisted that the new tricycle be given its maiden run and as teacher Bev Holmes provided the pedal power she gave pupil Leanne and the tricycle its first outing round the assembly hall.
Of course Peter Connolly was not going to be outdone and was next in line for a go on the trike much to the delight of the children. Happily we are able to report that everyone survived the experience...
Lynn and Peter find out how the tricycle works.
Afterwards Joan Lamb on behalf of the school and its board of governors said: “We feel very lucky that the Masons have given such support to the school. Please let the West Lancashire Mark Charity know how very grateful we are.”
Article and Photgraphs Courtesy of Bob Boal