Scottish Freemasons donate £1k to veteran’s funeral fund

Darren Greenfield died after contracting an infection
Darren Greenfield died after contracting an infection
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A group of Scottish Freemasons has donated £1,000 towards the appeal to pay for the funeral of homeless former serviceman Darren Greenfield.

The contribution adds to almost £2,000 that has been collated in an online campaign to aid Darren’s family in their time of need.

Craig Douglas is a trustee of the Mark Wright Memorial Degree team, a group of Freemasons who tour Scottish masonic lodges performing degree ceremonies with the purpose of raising money for military veteran charities.

Craig said: “Darren should get a proper send-off and that’s why we are more than happy to donate to this worthy cause. His story cuts us straight to the heart. He should not have been living on the streets.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t have done anything sooner. However, let’s now give him a dignified send-off.”

Darren, 47, struggled to adapt to life after leaving the army and, as a result, was a regular at the top of Waverley Steps begging for change.

He contracted an infection as a result of long-term health problems while sleeping rough and passed away on December 17.

The Ancre Somme Association Scotland began the online campaign and have raised £1,870 so far to give Darren the send-off he deserves.

The crowdfunding total in addition to the donation from the Mark Wright Memorial Degree Team brings the overall figure to almost £3,000.

Tommy Davidson, secretary of the association, said: “When we saw Darren’s story we were very passionate and knew we had to do something.

“Darren served in Bosnia and we feel we needed to do something to help.

“We are determined to raise the campaign’s profile and reach the target.

“We just want to do our best for Darren and his family.

“He deserves to be honoured and remembered for sacrificing his life for us all.

“Now it is our turn to give something back.”

Friends have left floral tributes at the entrance to the steps, describing Mr Greenfield as “good as gold”.

Mr Greenfield, known to friends and family as Dan, served with the Royal Tank Regiment in Bosnia during conflict in the 1990s, also spending time with the Royal Army Pay Corps and Adjutant General’s Corps.

Mr Davidson has contacted the association’s ambassador, Alexander Stewart MSP, to ask parliament for cross-party support to improve the care and support given to veterans once they leave the forces.

He said: “We need to make sure the people who serve our country don’t end up on the streets.

“They should get the support they deserve when they return.

“Everyone needs to play a part in changing the way we treat former soldiers.

“It’s a disgrace that they’re not treated as heroes. They should not end up on the streets like Darren did.”

To donate to Darren’s funeral, go to http://bit.ly/2G4bX1Z