PHILIP Hutchens, Chancellor of The Commandery of Avalon (South West) of the Grand Priory of England and Wales in The Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem (MHOSLJ), would like to thank both customers and staff of Morrisons store in Crediton, for the support they gave on Friday and Saturday, February 2 and 3, while collecting for the Grand Priory’s charitable work.

The total amount raised was £253.08.

The trustees of The St Lazarus Charitable Trust are responsible for distributing the bulk of the money raised by members of the Grand Priory for charitable projects, particularly those related to leprosy.

The Trust works closely with expert charities, including The Leprosy Mission (TLM), LEPRA and EMMS International, on a range of projects from sponsoring student medical electives in leprosy-hit areas of the world to supporting local initiatives in India, Nepal and parts of Africa.

Philip explained: “We, as a Commandery, support our national commitments to combating leprosy throughout the world, and have to-date this year made the following donations: Samburu Trust (Eyecamp) Kenya - £300, and the Grand Prior’s World Leprosy Day Appeal 2024 - £520. The first project was led by the present Hospitaller of the Grand Priory, Mr Daniel Morris BSc, MBChB, MFSEM (UK), FRCSEd (Ophth), and involved his personally carrying out 200 trachoma operations in field hospitals for the Samburu Trust in Kenya, trachoma being one of the major causes of blindness worldwide.

“The second supports The Leprosy Mission of England and Wales in its project in Batticaloa on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, involving initiatives to combat the spread of infection and disease and to detect and diagnose leprosy in youngsters of school age.

“We also support local charities in the South West. In the past we have supported ShelterBox, Chicks (SW), Chernobyl Lifeline and, here in Devon, Devon Air Ambulance, FORCE (Cancer) Exeter, SSAFA Devon, Tavistock PCC and the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Boniface, Plymouth.”

 Mr Hutchens added: “The Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem is one of the most ancient of the European orders of chivalry. From its foundation in the 11th century, its members have been dedicated to two ideals: providing aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of leprosy and defending the Christian faith.

“Today the Order is an international, self-governing and independent body, with its own Constitution; it is nonpolitical and ecumenical (or multi-denominational).

“Membership is open to all men and women who are practising members of the Christian faith and in good standing with their particular Church.  Its membership comprises Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox, Methodist and other Christians, upholding in their lives, fortunes and honour the principles of Christianity.

“On behalf of all those who will be touched by your kindness, and from everyone here at the Commandery of Avalon, I extend our most sincere thanks for your invaluable support at this time.”