A YOUNGSTER who is battling illness has been provided with a safe play area at her Bream home while she undergoes treatment.

The Edenwall Lodge of the Freemasons, who meet in Coleford, were delighted to help Esme Thomas, her mum and dad Rachel and Ben and little brother Isaac, and have been heartened to receive a letter of thanks from them.

Freemasonry Gloucestershire spokesperson Nick Ellwood explained that their help started with a request for help to lodge charity steward Terry Lloyd, who was quick to respond.

And fully supported by members of Edenwall Lodge, they donated their time, efforts and funds from the charity account to cover the cost of materials, with some also kindly donated by Jewsons.

Esme’s mum Rachel said she still has to have chemotherapy daily at home, but the play area has been a real boost for her and brother Isaac on her long road to recovery.

“We had not long come out of the hospital when we had the call from Terry offering the Freemasons’ help,” she said. “It really was a shock and relief that we were going to have a safe outdoor environment for Esme, as her chemotherapy makes it difficult for her to stay steady on her feet, and at that time even walk much distance.

“Esme was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on 24th January 2023. She will get to ring the bell (signalling her full recovery) on February 2025.”

The lodge are following in a 300-year-old tradition of Freemasons charitably supporting their communities.

The family’s letter of thanks says: “We are just writing to thank you all for the amazing space you created in our garden for Esme and her little brother, Isaac.

“The hard work and time that was put in with the thought of Esme and her needs clearly in the forefront of everyone’s minds was lovely. Esme appreciates the new friendship she feels she has made with Terry and regularly points out the fact that he made her gate.

“Since the new decking area the kids are out like wild children whether rain or shine having the times of their lives. Allowing them to have the freedom without worrying about them getting in to trouble has been incredibly appreciated with the weeks stuck in hospital.

“Esme is now in maintenance which means less hospital visits and a little bit closer to normality. She still has to have chemotherapy at home every day and we will have to remain careful for a while longer, but our finish line is February 2025, where we hope to ring the bell and have big celebrations!

“We have been told she is thriving and has sailed through the treatment really well, and we hope that is because of the support and love we have received from so many people, including yourselves.”