A better person

Whether it’s organising a football match in a war zone or catching fish by hand in a life raft, Wayne Ingram is a serial fundraiser. Imogen Beecroft discovers why joining Freemasonry was the logical step

Despite having raised more than £100,000 to give one boy life-changing facial surgery, £67,000 to build an orphanage in Africa, and £12,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Wayne Ingram doesn’t spend much time considering his role in improving the quality of people’s lives. ‘I don’t really think about my involvement,’ he says.

‘I’m just glad it happened.’

While Wayne describes himself as ‘lucky’, ‘fortunate’ and ‘a better person’ to have been able to raise these funds, it’s hard to believe there are many who could have achieved what he has.

Masonic values

Wayne’s commitment and compassion sit well with his membership of the Craft.

His father a mason, Wayne joined All Souls Lodge, No. 170, based in Dorset, in 2007. ‘When they asked if I wanted to join I said yes – I don’t think people realise quite how much Freemasons do for charity. At first, I just enjoyed going to the events and didn’t want to seek progression. But it’s such an amazing lodge: most of them are ex-servicemen and there’s a great family atmosphere.’

Worshipful Master Grant Baker from Portland-based United Service Lodge – which Wayne joined in 2014 following four years working abroad – is amazed by Wayne’s fundraising efforts. ‘He’s a one-man collection band, a phenomenon. He is a great example of a mason displaying true masonic behaviour in every possible way. He doesn’t need to put the suit on: it’s in the way he lives his life. Concerning himself with other people’s welfare is just in his personality.’

Wayne speaks fondly of the support he’s received from the masonic community. ‘They’ve never put any pressure on me, but last year I decided I’d like to progress so have started to move up the ladder. I’ve made some amazing friends and I think it’s good for the whole family. It’s such a lovely collection of people – yes, they think I’m mad occasionally, but are extremely supportive of my fundraising.’

‘He doesn’t need to put the suit on: it’s in the way he lives his life. Concerning himself with other people’s welfare is just in his personality.’ Grant Baker

Plea for help

Wayne’s fundraising fervour began after a chance meeting with a man in Bosnia. It was an unusual encounter, but something Wayne believes ‘happened for a reason’. He was working in reconnaissance in the army when he heard about Stefan Savic, a boy of four born with a facial cleft – a block of bone in the centre of his face. At the time, Wayne was chasing the chief of police out of a police station, as the chief tried to avoid a scheduled meeting. Wayne leapt over a counter to reach him, tripped, and ended up in a ball of dust on the floor. ‘Looking down at me was Milos, Stefan’s father, and we just started laughing.’

When the two began talking, Milos showed some pictures of Stefan, which had a profound effect on Wayne. ‘You never want to see any child disfigured, injured or hurt,’ he says. Stefan’s family had approached a hospital in Paris to help him, but the fees for the operation were over €30,000 (about £27,000 in today’s money). With Milos earning just €180 (£160) per month, he knew this wasn’t an option and asked Wayne for assistance. Wayne couldn’t say no: ‘I just thought: I’m going to do this.’

Initially, Wayne admits, he was naive in his expectations. ‘I thought he could just have an operation and that’d be it.

I didn’t think that 13 years later I’d still be raising funds for him. I wrote to lots of celebrities, expecting the money to come flooding in. And it didn’t.’

Typical to Wayne’s determined character, it was a rejection letter from a celebrity, apologising for not being able to help, that spurred him on. Still stationed in Bosnia, Wayne organised a football match between the British Army and local nationals, uniting previously warring Serbs, Muslims and Croats on one team – no mean feat – to raise more than €6,000 (£5,000).

Wayne continued fundraising in camp and when he returned home began holding barbecues and shaking his collection bucket in supermarkets. ‘There have been many, many sleepless nights when the money just wasn’t coming in. I put my motorbike up for sale at one point.’

Wayne was also searching for a surgeon to help with Stefan’s surgery and managed to enlist the help of David Dunaway. Wayne credits Dunaway – who has performed all Stefan’s operations pro bono – with changing Stefan’s life. ‘I’m the lucky one to have met Stefan, contacted David, and asked people to donate. But it’s the magic of David’s skill that has changed Stefan’s life,’ he says.

Opening the door

Stefan’s first operation in 2003 was a success, but it was the start of a very long road for the boy, who, Wayne says, takes it all in his stride. ‘We have a fantastic relationship, and keep in touch via social media. He’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He just gets on with it. He’s never complained: for his last operation he had a morphine syringe for when the pain was too much and pressed it once. The nurses couldn’t believe it.’

Over the next 13 years, Stefan has needed a series of lengthy operations, all of which were performed by Dunaway with funds raised by Wayne. During this time, Wayne saw what he could achieve when he set his mind to it, which opened the door to other fundraising efforts.

When working in Nouadhibou, Africa, in 2012 Wayne was asked to do a health and safety audit on an orphanage. ‘The first thing I saw was a doll, stuck to the wall, to show the children what a toy looked like. There were 40 children sleeping on the floor, in a room with no lights, open sewage and rats running around. They had nothing at all.’

True to form, Wayne set about raising money for the children, intending to cycle 900km across the African countryside. When this was thwarted because of a kidnap threat, he altered the challenge to have expats and locals cycle in a gym for 24 hours under the banner, ‘Cross a Mile n’ Bring a Smile’, raising £67,000 to build a completely new orphanage.

Once settled back home in Portland, Wayne started working as a paramedic. In 2015, he decided to raise money for GOSH, where Stefan’s operations were performed. ‘As a nation we are always giving to various charities – so I had to do something completely different to encourage people to donate.’

Different it certainly was: Wayne spent seven days and nights in a 1.3m2 life raft 300m off the Dorset coast. Initially, he planned to take four days’ worth of food and water, but when his wife suggested this sounded easy he limited it to 24 hours’ food and water. He completed the challenge, using a reverse-osmosis pump for clean water and catching fish with his hands for food. He raised £12,727 for the GOSH Family Centre, which enables parents to stay with their children while they are in hospital.

On 18 October 2016, Dunaway performed Stefan’s final operation. It went smoothly, and Stefan is now heading home so that he can go back to school. As for Wayne, what’s next? ‘Work-wise, I’d like to move into practising offshore medicine on oil rigs,’ he says. ‘In terms of fundraising, I’m up for anything. If anyone needs help, I’ll help.’

Published in Features
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 00:00

The history of the four masonic charities

A history of giving

We trace the origins of the four masonic charities that have come together to form the new Masonic Charitable Foundation

The four masonic charities have been integral to the Craft, providing crucial support to Freemasons, their families and the wider community. However, the existence of four separate organisations – each with its own distinct processes for providing support – hindered the development of a truly joined-up and consistent approach. After much consideration it has therefore been decided to launch a major new charity, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF). From 1 April 2016, the Foundation will take over the work of the central masonic charities, providing a wide range of grants to Freemasons and their families who have a financial, health or care need. The Foundation will also award grants to other charities, medical research studies and disaster relief appeals. 

The Foundation will ensure that the masonic charitable support network, which has provided assistance for centuries, remains fit for purpose and able to adapt to the needs of new generations. As we look to the future, it is worth remembering how the current four charities have evolved and how, under the banner of the MCF, cradle-to-grave support will remain in place for Freemasons and their dependants.

The Freemasons’ Grand Charity

Soon after the Grand Master’s installation in 1967, he commissioned a review of the masonic charities. It recommended that a new central charity be established to contribute to society as a whole, befitting the importance and scale of English Freemasonry. In 1980, the Grand Charity was established. It also assumed responsibility for UGLE’s Board of Benevolence, whose origins were found in the first Committee of Charity of Grand Lodge, formed in 1725. 

With grants totalling more than £120 million, the Grand Charity has improved the lives of thousands of masons and their dependants, and has made extensive contributions to wider society, funding the causes that are important to members of the Craft. It has enabled Provinces to demonstrate their commitment to local communities through matched giving schemes, grants to The Scout Association and millions in hospice and Air Ambulance giving. Its multimillion-pound research funding has aided numerous medical breakthroughs. 

The Grand Charity has brought far-reaching benefits to masonic fundraising by establishing the Relief Chest Scheme to promote efficient and tax-effective giving. The Craft has saved thousands of pounds in administration costs and donations have been significantly increased through Gift Aid. The scheme has also enabled members to come together following worldwide disasters, funding recovery projects in devastated areas on behalf of Freemasonry as a whole. Indeed, £1 million was raised following the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Through the Grand Charity’s giving, thousands have felt the positive impact of masonic charity and over the past 35 years in particular, Freemasonry has increasingly been seen publicly as a philanthropic leader, supporting many great causes.

Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys

From its origins as a school for girls, the RMTGB has worked for over 227 years to relieve poverty and advance the education of thousands of children from masonic families across the UK, as well as tens of thousands of children from wider society. The Trust has spent over £130 million on charitable support over the past 15 years alone.

In 1788, Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini established the Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School for Female Objects, supporting 15 daughters of distressed or deceased Freemasons. A provision for boys was introduced soon after, and over the next 200 years the institutions’ schools expanded and relocated. Eventually, the boys’ school closed, the girls’ school became independent, and the trustees focused on supporting children at schools near their own homes. 

In 1982, the boys’ and girls’ institutions came together to form the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, later the RMTGB. 

Over time, the Trust moved from fixed financial grants to packages of support tailored to each family’s circumstances. Innovative schemes were also introduced for youngsters with specific talents and needs. 

The Trust’s support also extends beyond the masonic community. In 1988, £100,000 was awarded to Great Ormond Street Hospital, with major grants given ever since. Since the launch of the Stepping Stones non-masonic grant-making scheme in 2010, almost £1 million has been awarded to charities that aim to reduce the impact of poverty on education. The Trust also provides premises and support services for Lifelites, which equips children’s hospices across the British Isles with fun, assistive technology. Established as the Trust’s Millennium Project, Lifelites became an independent charity in 2006.

Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution

The RMBI cares for older Freemasons and their families, as well as people in the community. The history of the charity dates back to 1842 when UGLE inaugurated the Royal Masonic Benevolent Annuity Fund for men, followed by the Female Annuity Fund in 1849. The first home was opened the following year and the RMBI was officially established. In the early 1960s, provision was extended to non-annuitants and between 1960 and 1986, a further 13 homes were set up. The RMBI now provides a home for more than 1,000 people across England and Wales, while supporting many more.

At the heart of the RMBI is the commitment to deliver services that uphold an individual’s dignity. Its Experiential Learning training programme requires all new carers to complete a series of practical scenarios in order to better understand residents and has even received national news coverage for its unique approach. The RMBI is also recognised for its excellence in specialist dementia care services, which are increasingly in demand. Nine RMBI homes have been awarded Butterfly Service status, a national quality-of-life ‘kitemark’, by Dementia Care Matters

None of this could be achieved without a dedicated team, and an RMBI staff member recently received the Care Trainer Award at the 2015 Great British Care Awards in recognition of such commitment. The support and time given by each home’s Association of Friends is also a unique part of the RMBI. The associations – volunteer groups of local masons that work to complement resident services – are independently registered charities and their efforts over the years have ranged from fundraising for home minibuses and resident day trips, to sensory gardens and home entertainment.

Masonic Samaritan Fund

The Royal Masonic Hospital and its predecessor, the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home, had a Samaritan Fund to support masons and their families who could not afford the cost of private medical treatment. In 1990 the MSF was established to take on the role of this fund, and in its early years benefited from many very generous donations, including a grant from the Grand Charity, and the highly successful Cornwallis and London Festival appeals.

Thanks to the support of Freemasons and their families, the MSF has been able to expand the assistance it provides to cater for the evolving health and care needs of its beneficiaries. In addition to funding medical treatment or surgery, grants are available to support respite breaks for carers, to restore dental function, to aid mobility and to provide access to trained counsellors.

Since 2010 the MSF has provided grants to major medical research projects. Notable successes have included enhancing the diagnosis of prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s as well as support for those suffering from macular degeneration.  

Each year the MSF helps more masonic families fund the health and care support they need to live healthy and independent lives. Since 1990 more than 12,000 Freemasons and their family members have been helped at a total cost of over £67 million.

Funded entirely through the generous donations of the masonic community, the Masonic Charitable Foundation will seek to continue the excellent work of the central masonic charities and be able to respond more effectively to the changing needs of masonic families and other charitable organisations. For more information, go to www.mcf.org.uk

Timeline

Charting the history of the four masonic charities

1725   The premier Grand Lodge sets up the Committee of Charity

1788  The Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School for Female Objects, named after the Duchess of Cumberland, is founded by Chevalier Bartholomew Ruspini

1789  The first anniversary of the Royal Cumberland Freemasons’ School is celebrated with a church service and dinner. Collections are taken, making this the first fundraising ‘festival’ for a masonic charity

1798  Inspired by Ruspini’s achievements, William Burwood and the United Mariners Lodge establish a fund to support the sons of Freemasons

1814  Soon after the union of the Grand Lodges, the Committee of Charity joins with other committees relieving hardship among masons to become the Board of Benevolence

1850  The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution (RMBI) is established, and the first RMBI home opens in East Croydon 

1904  ‘Out-relief’ is introduced so that those not admitted to the masonic schools can receive grants to support their education elsewhere

1914  It is decided that the daughters of serving Freemasons who die or are incapacitated during WWI should receive a grant of £25 per year

1920  The Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home opens

1933  The Royal Masonic Hospital opens at Ravenscourt Park

1934  The girls’ school moves to Rickmansworth Park. The school is officially opened by HM Queen Mary with 5,000 ladies and brethren in attendance

1966  Devonshire Court opens in Oadby, Leicestershire 

1967  Scarbrough Court opens in Cramlington, Northumberland

1968  Prince George Duke of Kent Court opens in Chislehurst, Kent

1971  Connaught Court opens in Fulford, York 

1973  The Bagnall Report recommends that the boys’ school is closed and that the girls’ school becomes independent 

1973  Lord Harris Court opens in Sindlesham, Berkshire, and Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court opens in Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan

1977  Ecclesholme opens in Eccles, Manchester, and  The Tithebarn opens in Great Crosby, Liverpool

1979  Queen Elizabeth Court opens in Llandudno, Conwy

1980  The Grand Charity is established

1980  James Terry Court opens in Croydon, Surrey 

1981  Cornwallis Court opens in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

1982  The masonic institutions for girls and boys merge their activities to form the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys 

1983  Zetland Court opens in Bournemouth, Dorset 

1984  Grand Charity hospice support begins

1986  The Grand Charity establishes the Relief Chest Scheme

1986  Cadogan Court opens in Exeter, South Devon 

1990  The Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) is established, assisted by a £1.2 million grant from the Grand Charity  

1992  275th anniversary of Grand Lodge 

1992  The Grand Charity awards more than £2 million to charities that care for people with learning difficulties

1994  UGLE recommends that all masonic organisations adopt the Relief Chest Scheme

1994  Prince Michael of Kent Court opens in Watford, Hertfordshire

1994  The Cornwallis Appeal raises £3.2 million for the MSF

1995  Shannon Court opens in Hindhead, Surrey 

1996  Barford Court opens in Hove, East Sussex

1997  Total annual expenditure for Masonic Relief Grants exceeds £2 million for the first time

1998  Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court opens in Braintree, Essex

1999  To commemorate the millennium, the Grand Charity donates more than £2 million to good causes

1999  Lifelites is established by the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys as a Millennium Project to provide assistive and educational technology packages for children’s hospices across the British Isles

1999  The London Festival Appeal for the MSF raises £10.6 million

2000  Following the abolition of Local Authority student grants, the Trust establishes an undergraduate aid scheme to support disadvantaged young people at university. Almost 500 students are assisted during the first year of the scheme, rising to almost 1,000 by 2003

2001  The TalentAid scheme is introduced by the Trust to support young people with an exceptional talent in music, sport or the arts, with 75 supported in the first year

2003  The Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys becomes the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB)

2004  The Grand Charity donates £1 million for research into testicular and prostate cancers

2005  More than £1 million is donated by Freemasons and the Grand Charity to help with recovery efforts following the Asian tsunami

2006  Lifelites becomes a registered charity

2007  Special funding for Air Ambulances begins

2008  All four central masonic charities move into shared office space in Freemasons’ Hall, London

2008  The Grand Charity donates £500,000 to The Scout Association, enabling more than 23,000 young people to join, and £1 million to Ovarian Cancer Action

2008  Scarbrough Court reopens in Cramlington,  Northumberland (rebuilt on its original site)

2008  The MSF makes its first grant in support of medical research, and respite care grants are introduced

2010  Stepping Stones, the RMTGB’s non-masonic grant-making scheme, is introduced to support disadvantaged youngsters 

2010  MSF dental care grants are introduced

2013  James Terry Court reopens in Croydon, Surrey (rebuilt on its original site)

2013  The MSF Counselling Careline service launches

2015  Following a 30-year partnership, the Grand Charity’s grants to the British Red Cross now exceed £2 million

2015  The MSF marks its 25th anniversary by awarding over £1 million for medical research 

2016  The four masonic charities join together to form the Masonic Charitable Foundation

Letters to the Editor - No. Spring 2016

Sir,

I was surprised and delighted to see a photo in the winter 2015 edition of Freemasonry Today of a group of nurses at the Royal Masonic Hospital taken in 1958. The group includes my wife on the right at the end of the patient’s bed. I can still name several of the other nurses.

At the time, I was an undergraduate at Cambridge and I frequently travelled to see her at the hospital nurses’ home at Ravenscourt Park. I am pleased to say that we are still happily married after 53 years.

Tony Kallend, Isaac Newton University Lodge, No. 859, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Published in Freemasonry Cares

Hitting a new peak in charity climb

Dale Murphy from Gorhambury Lodge, No. 8745, in Hertfordshire has reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and raised more than £4,500 for Great Ormond Street Hospital and Cystic Fibrosis Research. Dale took up the challenge to climb the world’s highest freestanding mountain after hearing that a close friend’s daughter had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Wayne’s help for Stefan

Ten years ago, Wayne Ingram of United Service Lodge, No. 3473, Portland, Dorset, was a soldier serving in Bosnia when he helped a young boy, Stefan, with life-threatening facial deformity. Wayne raised the money to pay for a series of complex operations to transform and save his life. Stefan had several procedures at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), most recently in May 2014. He will return to the UK for his final operation in 2017, for which the money has already been raised. This May, Wayne will spend seven nights in a life raft in Portland Harbour to raise money for GOSH and its tireless efforts on behalf of Stefan and other children. 

Kilimanjaro climb for children’s hospital

Dale Murphy, from Gorhambury Lodge, No. 8745, Province of Hertfordshire, is all set to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in February, raising vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust

After hearing about a close friend’s baby daughter being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Dale accepted the challenge of raising more than £4,000 by climbing the highest free-standing mountain in the world. 

Dale put his training to the test recently by taking part in the Mountain Trail Challenge, a 30-mile trek over the Brecon Beacons in Wales, completing the gruelling course in 10 hours 50 minutes. This raised an additional £100 from his lodge members, taking his current fundraising total to £3,000. 

Malcolm, who is now 60, was born in Epsom and lived in Leatherhead as a child although, in his own words, he spent most of his time until the age of 12 in Great Ormond Street Hospital. He was born with the condition syndactyly which means form the Greek 'together fingers' and is an hereditary condition. The digits on his hands and feet were fused together. At the age of just 4 years both his legs were amputated at the knee and with many skin grafts from his stomach and much surgery this hands were partially separated to give him at least some ability to grip. He was educated in Leatherhead but will tell you that the best years of his young life were spent on Romney Marsh. His first set of legs sound Dickensian, they were wood and tin, 'my Long John Silver period' he calls it.

During his childhood he was a Scout, including being a member of the Great Ormond Stree troupe, and took part in many activities that even the able bodied might not attempt, including abseiling, hiking and sailing. He loved the Scouts and has a soft spot for the Sea Scouts. Such was his commitment that he won the Cornwell Medal, named after the boy seaman Jack Cornwell, VC (won at Jutland in WW1) and commonly known by many as the Scout VC. It was presented to Malcolm by Her Majesty the Queen at St Georges Chapel, Windsor on St George's day, and she subsequently presented him with the Queen's Scout badge! These are awarded to cadets who excel at scouting. 'My great claim to fame though is appearing on Blue Peter,' jokes Malcolm regularly, casually dismissing his other achievements.

After his education he joined the Meteorological Office at Bracknell. He really loved the job, but realised that his life in the weather was not for him. Rather, he wanted to be outside and at 21 he started his own company. He has for many years owned and managed Elvy Transport following qualification as an HGV driver – amazing in itself. His main contracts are with the RNLI and the Royal Navy and he was the chosen contractor for transporting 'Gloriana', the Queen's barge, in readiness for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations last year.

He is committed to aiding charities and often moves decommissioned lifeboats for free, including the 'Mary Joycey' to Newbiggin-on-Sea for restoration. He always transports Sea Scout vessels when approached as a way of 'giving back'. He spent over 20 years as an organiser for the Ringwood Carnival in Hampshire and even today lends his vehicles.

Malcolm had an interest in Freemasonry for many years and several times spoke to masons in the hope that he might be able to join, but things went nowhere until he met W Bro Max Preece. Max told him that Freemasonry is in your heart not your legs, and he was initiated into Elizabethan Lodge No. 7262. 'I had begun to think that Freemasons didn't like the disabled, as nothing ever went anywhere,' he now says with a smile. During his years as a Deacon one of his prosthetic legs collapsed and he suffered multiple injuries. It was an awful time for him, but he filled his role from a wheelchair as both Junior and Senior Deacon. While a Warden the furniture and pedestals were adapted for him, and as Worshipful Master the whole kit is on the main floor. He accepts that this must be so but spent months working with his physiotherapist practicing kneeling for his installation. It looked great when he did so. Not bad for a man with no knees, lower legs and malformed hands.

As if that were not enough, Malcolm also suffers from dyslexia and finds learning the ritual a little difficult. 'I learn it one way round, and it often comes out another!' His installation on 15th April 2013 at the Diamond Jubilee meeting of the Elizabethan Lodge was one of the most emotional and magnificent many had ever witnessed. Tears of joy appeared when W Bro Max gave the address to the Master and later when listening to him sing the Master's song. What a special evening for a special mason.

Despite some less than ideal conditions, six members of Wentworth Lodge No. 737, led by W Bro Rob Mallett, successfully completed a canoeing marathon from Northampton to Peterborough, raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital along the route.

The 3 day programme – which entailed canoeing over 62 miles and negotiating 37 locks – started on 18th and ended on 20th April 2012. Throughout this demanding challenge the team only managed six hours of sleep: 10 miles for each hour of sleep!

Their efforts, however, proved worthwhile as they raised in excess of £9,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Coinciding with their challenge the team members visited lodges and masonic centres across Northampton, Wellingborough, Rushden, Kettering and Peterborough, including Hatton Lodge No. 3041 where Bro Nick Skillett, a member of the canoe team, was passed to the second degree.

This challenge came about when the Worshipful Master of the Wentworth Lodge wanted to find some way to offer thanks for the fantastic care given by Great Ormond Street Hospital to his son, who is awaiting life-changing neurosurgery for epilepsy.

The London-based hospital is a national charity, but it is accessed by children from all over the country, referred there when their local hospital cannot offer solutions or hope. GOSH is a pioneering centre of medical research and care, and in addition to the NHS funding they already receive they need to raise over £50 million pounds through charitable donations in order to maintain their internationally recognised standards.

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