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Nature-lover and grandfather making special bird table for children’s hospice

PUBLISHED: 15:13 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:13 08 September 2020

Wally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Wally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Critically-ill children in a £10m hospice will be able to enjoy nature thanks to the practical skills of a grandfather and charity fundraiser.

Wally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANWally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Reedcutter Wally Mason, 73, from The Street in Rockland St Mary, near Trowse, is making a wooden bird table featuring Norfolk water reed he cut by hand from Rockland Broad and Haddiscoe and multiple bird boxes, for the grounds of the Nook in Framingham Earl.

Wally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANWally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ (EACH) Norfolk base was opened in September last year by the charity’s royal patron, the Duchess of Cambridge, and replaced the charity’s old Quidenham hospice.

Wally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANWally Mason, 73, former Broads reed cutter, is making a bird table (featuring Norfolk reeds) to stand on grounds of the nook EACH hospice in Framingham Earl for terminally-ill children staying at the hospice to enjoy. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Mr Mason, who has four children and three grandchildren, raised £2,300 for EACH during a family day showing off traditional rural skills and promoting nature in Rockland St Mary, for the first-ever Norfolk Day in July 2018 and thought of building a bird table then.

But it was during coronavirus lockdown he was given the go ahead by EACH and he hopes to finish it by the end of September.

He said: “With Covid-19 coming along I had a bit of time. I’m no thatcher or carpenter but if the bird table gives the children pleasure I’ll try my best. I had bits and pieces and thought it was time to clear up my yard. It is a nice thing to do.

“It will be a lovely thing for the children to watch birds looking for worms and taking them back to their boxes.”

He described the new hospice as a marvellous place and said he was gripped by the cause of helping children.

MORE: ‘They thought of everything’ - delight as £10m children’s hospice opens its doors

“I love children to bits,” he added.

Mr Mason, who first joined his late father on a reedcutting boat aged five, plans to carry on the skill using traditional methods “until he drops” and said he loved being outside surrounded by nature.

Tim Jenkins, EACH Norfolk community fundraiser, said: “We were very happy to hear of Wally’s intentions, following on from his sterling efforts to fundraise for us and the support of the community in Rockland St Mary. Norfolk is known for some wonderful natural spots and this is reflected in some of the decoration at the Nook, so this bird table will be a lovely addition. I’m sure it will encourage some welcome visitors for children, young people, families, staff and volunteers to watch.”


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