Wheels for Heroes receives a 3000 grant from the London Freemasons Charity
W Bro John Purnell reports
On 16 March 2020, Brompton Bike Hire approached St. Bart’s Hospital and NHS London to provide bikes for their front-line staff who wished to avoid being crammed onto buses and trains during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As word rapidly spread, over 500 NHS staff registered for the free rental scheme, quickly depleting the hire fleet. Even though there weren’t enough bikes, interest continued to grow and it was time to take action. Brompton wanted to provide more bikes to key workers and so the decision was made to commit a production capacity of £100,000 and create ‘Wheels for Heroes’ – a Crowdfunded campaign to fund bikes for NHS staff, both during the crisis and beyond.
The overwhelming amount of support was amazing and inspiring. By the end of the month-long campaign, an astonishing £318,000 was raised by 1,815 incredible individual supporters and generous donations from industry and organisations. As a result, Brompton was able to manufacture over 700 of their folding bikes for NHS staff.
The grandson of W Bro John Purnell of Salvus Securus Lodge is a Brompton engineer. John solicited support and donations from his and a few other London Lodges, and they contributed £1,600. In addition, sponsored by Former Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master, VW Bro Philip Summers, the London Freemason’s Charity donated £3,000.
Brompton CEO, Will Butler-Adams, rewarded donors with varying tokens of thanks. Those who donated over £250 were able to name a bike – some chose to name bikes after themselves, others commemorated special people in their lives, whilst many chose to name their bikes after doctors and nurses currently working in the NHS. Some got even more creative – one bike being named after a Woody Guthrie lyric written about his nurse, “Your smile cured me”. A number of bikes were named after Lodges, such as Salvus Securus, Manor of St. James and Duke of Edinburgh Lodge.
Each personalised bike has the name engraved on the serial plate on the mainframe, as well as its name having a permanent place on an honorary wall in the Brompton factory.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 44 April 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 44.