The Cheshire Freemasons’ Charity will be supporting its community during the Tercentenary year by donating more than £300,000 to charities, including £55,000 for the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust (CAFT) for a specially adapted bus
Noddy Holder, former frontman of pop group Slade and a patron of CAFT, thanked Cheshire PGM Stephen Blank for the donation, saying it would normally take one to two years for the charity to raise £55,000 through events.
Bedfordshire Freemasons have donated £6,500 to St Mary’s Church of England Academy, in the village of Stotfold, to purchase a new trim trail for its playground
Sarah Webster, who chairs the School Association, had been trying to raise the money without success until she casually mentioned it to her father, Tony Forwell, a West Kent mason.
Tony told Sarah that the Province of Bedfordshire could be in a position to provide some assistance. Sarah wrote to the Province and was ‘absolutely amazed’ when she received a letter from Provincial Grand Master Tony Henderson informing her that they would fund 100 per cent of the cost.
Devonshire PGM Ian Kingsbury met Disabled Sailing Association (DSA) chairman David Musgrove to present a £2,000 grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The DSA was formed in 2005 and sails out of Torquay. In 2007, the charity won National Lottery funding through The People’s Millions, with the money enabling it to buy Freedom, an ocean-sailing Hanse 350, and adapt her for wheelchair users and other disabilities.
In 2014, a second People’s Millions win led to the purchase of Free Spirit, a Hanse 345 with improved stern access.
West Kent masons took a break from their usual weekend chores to queue up for a procedure that could save their lives: a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening test for prostate cancer
The Province funded the screening, which was open to Freemasons, their friends and relations, and saw 376 men take part – twice the number expected. It was held at Bromley, courtesy of PGM Mark Estaugh, and the tests were carried out by a team from The Graham Fulford Charitable Trust, based at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
The tests were free but donations came to £2,431, with Gift Aid taking the figure above £3,000.
Voting is now open for the MCF Community Awards - Tercentenary Fund, which will award grants totalling £3 million to 300 charities operating locally across England and Wales
Each charity will receive a grant of £4,000, £6,000, £15,000 or £25,000, depending on the results of the vote.
The Awards celebrate the United Grand Lodge of England’s Tercentenary year and the support that Freemasons have given to charities over the past 300 years.
Earlier this year, Metropolitan and Provincial Grand Lodges nominated local charities to receive a grant. Depending on the size of the Province, four, six or eight charities will benefit in each, with 26 charities receiving a grant in London.
The grants will support charities and charitable projects that reflect the interests and values of the masonic community and address the needs of the whole family, from childhood to old age.
The vote will take place from 12 June to 31 July, and the results will be announced in August. The Awards are the first time that both the public and the masonic community are being asked to cast a vote to support a charity operating in their local area. All Freemasons are urged to vote and encourage their friends and family to do the same.
To vote for your favourite local charity, please visit here
Canterbury Cathedral hosted a Tercentenary Thanksgiving service in recognition of its long-standing relationship with Freemasonry
More than 1,500 masons and their families came from across the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex to attend a service in celebration of 300 years of the United Grand Lodge of England.
The event was held on 18 February in the presence of the Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, and was led by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis.
During his sermon, Dr Willis thanked the Duke of Kent for his long-standing support of the cathedral. He recalled how the Royal Family helped when the cathedral was damaged by bombing during World War II. He also paid tribute to the generous support of the masonic community, whose relationship with the cathedral dates back more than 100 years.
Canterbury Cathedral is currently undergoing the largest restoration project in its history. The interior and exterior are covered in scaffolding to allow the ancient building to be restored to as close to its original condition as possible. A donation of £300,000 from the Freemasons of Kent, Surrey and Sussex has funded repairs to the North West Transept, including new tower pinnacles and a spiral stone staircase.
East Kent Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing said: ‘The existence of Freemasonry for over 300 years bears witness to the fact that the idea of men from all walks of life coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time and inspired successive generations.’
As we reach the midpoint of this celebratory year, Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) Chief Executive David Innes urges you to vote in the Community Awards, and to encourage your friends and family to do the same
Between 12 June and 31 July, the masonic community and the wider general public will be asked to decide how they would like Freemasonry to support charities operating in their local areas. Across England and Wales, 300 charities will benefit from £3 million of funding, with a number of charities in each Province and London guaranteed a grant.
June will also see the next MCF Members’ Meeting take place in the Province of Nottinghamshire, at 11am on Saturday, 17 June. Attendees will hear about the work of the MCF as well as our future plans.
The Board of Trustees and staff are currently working hard to develop an effective strategy for the future of the MCF and later in 2017 we will present this to the Craft. The MCF is your charity and we are keen to keep you well-informed of our plans.
'We are working hard to develop an effective strategy for the future of the MCF. This is your charity and we are keen to keep you well-informed of our plans’
The MCF’s first impact report will be produced in the latter half of the year, providing the first formal opportunity to demonstrate exactly what the generous donations from the masonic community achieve.
So far the MCF has supported over 5,000 Freemasons and their family members, with thousands more in the wider community benefiting from £5 million in grants to charities. Enquiries for support are growing at an unprecedented rate and this, alongside the Community Awards, means that our impact on individuals and society will only increase over time.
Whether you donate to fund our work or spread the word about the help we offer, your support is invaluable, thank you.
THE MCF MAGAZINE
The Province of Guernsey & Alderney kicked off its Tercentenary celebrations with the opening of an exhibition at the Guernsey Museum at Candie, which attracted wide media coverage
The exhibition featured a range of local masonic memorabilia, mainly from the Province’s own museum and library.
A group of Surrey residents who find it challenging to communicate because of their profound and multiple learning disabilities are being helped thanks to a £15,000 grant from the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The grant to the Us in a Bus charity will be used to help fund two interaction practitioners. They will be supporting 86 people, mainly in the Reigate and Banstead areas, the majority of whom do not use words to express themselves and find it very difficult to communicate and connect with the world around them.
Victoria Goody, chief executive of Us in a Bus, said: ‘I was delighted to welcome Bill Caughie [pictured] and his fellow Surrey Freemasons so they could see the impact that our work has on people’s lives and the huge importance of their donation.’
A grant of £10,000 has been given to the therapeutic gardens project at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield by the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The first of the two new outdoor spaces is a dementia care garden, which uses colour, scent and visual stimulation to evoke memories.
It will recreate a residential street from the post-war era, complete with period shop fronts, Victorian street lamps and a genuine 1960s Mini car that will be a familiar sight to many of the patients.
The second garden is aimed at patients recovering from a stroke and draws on Japanese design. It will provide a tranquil haven for patients for whom the noise of a busy ward can be overwhelming, as well as a quiet place for family and friends to visit.