On a beautiful, sunny late winter’s day in Cape Town, our St Lazarus party was up betimes. We rang for admit­tance precisely at 9.00 a.m., and were given a quick tour of the home.

The children – it goes without saying – were adorable. The home is most impressive: staff members were cheerful and friendly and the home, although clearly in need of support, was clean, tidy and welcoming – even though the ladies on duty had not been expecting us.

The home caters for 49 children from birth to five years old. We saw two infants under six months. (At one point your correspondent -William de Villiers – thought that he would be going home with a new baby daughter but, fortunately or unfortunately, the moment passed!)

After our tour, we took a group of the bigger children out to the front garden for a (very energetic) play session, followed by orange slices!

Some of the children are severely challenged by foetal-al­cohol syndrome. Others have to deal with an inner knowl­edge of abandonment and abuse. With one or two excep­tions, however, they were cheerful, and their enjoyment of the beards adorning the faces of the “Oupas” had to be seen to be appreciated.

At length, age (ours) took its toll, and the party broke up with mutual admiration freely expressed by those present. It seems a good time was had by all.

Your representatives were: Serena Rosslind (Commander); Mac Bisset; Billy Downer; Gavin Leite (Commandery of the Western Cape); William de Villiers (Secretary Gen­eral) and Tamra Capstick-Dale (Grand Bailiff).