A request was made to the Benevolent Masonic Lodge, Teignmouth eight weeks ago by Councillor David Matthews who was looking for premises with a kitchen large enough to cook Sunday lunches for over 100 people, when David Purdy, Managing Director of Allsop & Pitts and a Freemason became aware of the situation he contacted the lodge building committee, when they heard the request was being made to supply meals for the most vulnerable people in the Teignbridge area they immediately agreed.

Since then the number has dramatically risen to over 300 each Sunday and over 100 on a Wednesday evening when David also donates Fish & Chip suppers to the elderly and vulnerable. In his working day the company David owns also collect Covid 19 related waste from the hospitals in Devon, one of Devon’s unsung hero’s.

To support the valiant efforts of David and his son because their costs have so dramatically risen and because they are totally reliant on donations to support their work, the various branches of Devonshire freemasonry have rallied together and have donated almost £15,000 in the last month to enable the work to continue, two of the Devonshire Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Peter Keaty & Craig Cox recently met up with David to present him with a cheque for £2,000.

303 cllr matthews and son

Click here to watch a short video about this work.

David’s sixteen year old son Bailey came up with the idea after his Grandmother became isolated in her own home due to the coronavirus outbreak and he decided to cook a meal and take it to her, he then asked his dad if he could spend part of his own savings and purchase enough food to make meals for some more local people in a similar position to his Gran, David thought it was such a good idea that he decided to try and developed it further and in eight weeks it has resulted in over 4000 meals being delivered to vulnerable and elderly people in Teignmouth, including the Dawlish Ambulance Service team who are working long hours, sometimes without a break or a good square meal.

Councillor David Matthews who is chairman of the Finance and General Purpose’s Committee and a past Mayor of Teignmouth worked alongside his son and in the first week they cooked Sunday dinners for 56 people in the Teignmouth area. After an anonymous donor gave them £2000 they expanded their aims, last Sunday delivering over 300 meals but also expanding the area they covered, with the help of 15 volunteer delivery drivers they are now covering much of the Teignbridge district.

Bailey and David neither of which have any previous experience in cooking apart from basic health and hygiene training are pushing their own boundaries by cooking everything from fresh, they are ably assisted by Nicola Turner in the kitchen and Karen Ryding who has volunteered to pack the meals in heat proof bags, sanitise and distribute them to the team of delivery drivers whilst keeping a safe distance from all concerned.

The Benevolent Lodge Masonic Hall can be found in Hollands Road Teignmouth which is ideally situated to perform the task, the facilities made available to David Matthews, free of charge were ideal for his requirements and the members of the masonic lodge were only too happy to open their doors, especially as helping those less fortunate than themselves forms the main ethos of freemasonry.