Spreading the word

The Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Chief Executive David Innes reflects on how the charity is progressing in its goal to make support simpler to understand and easier to access

In the months since the Masonic Charitable Foundation launched, a great deal has already been achieved towards our ambition of a unified central masonic charity. Our staff have now come together as a single, stronger team, all the while continuing to deliver the same level of service that the masonic community expects and deserves.

In the first three months of operation we received almost 1,000 applications for support from Freemasons and their family members with a very high percentage (85 per cent) being approved. But we want to do even better – we want every masonic family to know we are here to help. 

The purpose of bringing together the four charities was to make our support simpler to understand and easier to access, with straightforward eligibility criteria and clear processes.

Our representatives have been delivering talks across the country for the past few months, our new website is now live and we have distributed hundreds of thousands of leaflets. We are working hard to ensure that our message is heard, and we are relying on Freemasons to spread the word and make sure that no potential cases fall through the cracks.

‘In the first three months of operation we received almost 1,000 applications for support from Freemasons and their family members.’

Staff appointments

The staff structure for the Masonic Charitable Foundation has begun to take shape, as follows:

Relief Chest Director – Suhail Alam
Head of Community Support and Research – Katrina Baker
Head of Masonic Support – Gareth Everett
Head of Strategic Development and Special Projects – John McCrohan
Head of Communications and Marketing – Harry Smith
Provincial Support Programme Lead – Natasha Ward
Grants Manager – Gill Bennett
Financial Controller – Philip Brennan
Donations Manager – Sue George
Advice and Support Manager – Maggie Holloway
Marketing Manager – Rachel Jones
Digital Communications Manager – Heather Crowe
Fundraising Manager – Alison Lott
Legacy Manager – Duncan Washbrook
Administration and Support Manager – Sarah Bartel

Following the launch of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), Laura Chapman and Richard Douglas, Chief Executives of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund respectively, left the team during the summer. Everyone at the MCF would like to thank both Laura and Richard for their years of dedication and wish them all the best for the future.

Annual General Meeting

The first Annual General Meeting of the Masonic Charitable Foundation will be held on Wednesday, 14 December 2016 at Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London, from 3:15pm to 4.45pm

Announcement to the Craft about Laura Chapman and Richard Douglas

Sent on behalf of the President, the Deputy President, all Trustees and Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation

'Following the formation of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), Laura Chapman and Richard Douglas have decided to leave the charity.

Both Laura and Richard have served their respective charities, The Freemasons’ Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund, as Chief Executives with distinction for the last 15 years.

We are delighted that Laura has agreed to stay on with MCF until the end of July to help with merger transition issues and to advise on the creation of a new strategic development function. Likewise, Richard Douglas, has agreed to stay on with MCF until the end of September to continue his important work in establishing the new communications team and function.

During the last 15 years, both Laura and Richard have made a huge contribution to the charitable activities of the Masonic community and achieved a great deal, including being heavily involved in the creation and launch of MCF at the beginning of April this year. We are sure that you will all want to join everyone at MCF in wishing them both well for the future.'

Published in Freemasonry Cares

Quarterly Communication

9 March 2016 
An address by VW Bro James Newman, Deputy President-designate, and David Innes, Chief Executive

James Newman

RW Bro Deputy Grand Master and brethren, firstly thank you very much for unanimously approving the changes to the Book of Constitutions a few minutes ago. These changes, in essence, facilitate the creation of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and its strong links to Grand Lodge by the appointment of a President and Deputy President.

Indeed brethren, to paraphrase that part of our initiation ceremony, which specifically relates to charity, if you had not approved the changes, 'the subject of this presentation would have to have been postponed'.

Happily, it is now only three weeks until the official launch of our new charity. MCF, which I am sure it will be known as, will open for business on 1 April. Despite the date being April Fools' Day, for those of us involved, it will be no joking matter. 

Your new charity has been established following a long and very thorough review of how the four central masonic charities currently operate, could work together in the future and how best they can collectively serve the masonic community in particular. The Bagnall Report in 1973 made quite a number of recommendations, some of which were implemented, but many others were not, as they were not felt appropriate at that time.

In those intervening 43 years, some attempts have been made to further integrate masonic charitable support but with little success. More importantly, both the Grand Charity and the Masonic Samaritan Fund have been successfully established and society and Freemasonry have both changed beyond recognition, so another major review was long overdue.

So why has this review succeeded in getting to such an advanced stage. As with all things, especially in Freemasonry, it's all about people and their willingness to compromise and work for a better solution.

In traditional masonic style, I will start at the top. Deputy Grand Master, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to you, for all your active support and encouragement throughout this whole process as well as your guidance through the black, or perhaps I should say, dark blue hole, that is masonic politics. Although not planned, it is entirely appropriate that you, as the Ruler responsible for charity affairs, should be in the chair at this particular meeting.

With so many Provincial Grand Masters present today, it is also an ideal opportunity to thank you all, and your predecessors, for both your foresight and your patience. Some years ago, you collectively identified the need for change. Your concept of the future has helped us shape what has now been developed and many of you have made, and continue to make, valued contributions to the process.

As you will realise, I am making this presentation on behalf of my fellow Presidents, both present and past. We have worked together now for a good number of years on this review, had some robust discussions along the way but always came back to the overriding objective – how do we create the best, long term and the most efficient solution to provide charitable support and protect our fundraising activities.

Whilst the Presidents have set the policies and persuaded and sometimes had to cajole their Trustees to support the review’s recommendations, I hope you will all agree that we owe a big debt to our four Chief Executives and their respective staff teams for the professional manner in which they have approached this review, and indeed, are now implementing it. 

Change can often be difficult, but our staff have been magnificent throughout and no matter what uncertainty they face for their own futures , they have ensured that the standard of service that you all have come to expect, has been maintained at a consistently high level.  

By now I hope you are all aware of the main reasons why the review came to the conclusion that consolidating the charities, by creating an overarching parent charity, was the best and most sustainable solution for the future. The rationale for what we have done is to make best use of the money you all so generously donate and to have a structured and flexible system of support carried out in the most efficient way.

To do this, we will create a single charitable fund with as few restrictions as possible on how we spend it, which will allow us to react to the specific demand or need for support at any point in time from the masonic and non-masonic community. Of course, the existing funds of each of the charities will continue to be spent for the purposes for which they have been raised, as David will explain shortly.

Therefore, I am delighted to hand over to David, our new Chief Executive, who has the unenviable task of knitting all this together, so that he can tell you about our vision for the future and how we plan to realise it.

David Innes

RW Deputy Grand Master and brethren all, as I am sure you appreciate only too well, the creation of the new Masonic Charitable Foundation is a very significant milestone in the evolution of charitable support, both within and by the masonic community. Although James has said I have an unenviable task, I feel deeply honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead this new charity during its all-important formative years – particularly as I am not a Freemason.

The logo of our new charity depicts a charitable heart at the centre of the widely recognised square and compasses symbol. It is our firm intention that MCF will become extremely well known and appreciated as a force for good by all Freemasons and their families, as well as by the wider charity sector and the public at large. At the same time, the MCF logo must become instantly recognisable as the symbol of masonic charity within the widest possible audience. We will all be working hard to ensure this happens.

I have also used our new logo to explain to staff the structure that we shall be implementing when the charities consolidate next month. The heart symbolises the core function of the charity, namely the provision of beneficial support to the masonic community. It also represents the continuation of the practical support provided to the Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodges, in particular to Provincial Grand Almoners and Provincial Grand Charity Stewards who will remain as important as ever to the success of the new charity.

Similarly, the advice and support team will continue to be an integral element of this support network, operating as it does right in the heart of the masonic community. In time, we hope to expand our direct support by introducing new services – such as the Visiting Volunteer initiative – which we are currently piloting in a number of Provinces.

The heart also symbolises the extensive support available to the wider community through a variety of grants to other charitable causes and, when required, in response to natural disasters. The size and scale of the new charity will enable us to enter into major partnerships with other national charities, and to develop long term programmes of support of national significance, that will have a real and high profile impact. We shall also continue providing support to Lifelites and all the fantastic work it does in children’s hospices.

Another element of the operational support we provide to the masonic community and beyond, is our care homes. These will continue to be a very important part of what we do but, after 1 April, will be run by a separate charitable company within MCF known as RMBI Care Company. This company will have its own board of directors but will be fully accountable to the MCF Board.

Having decided to group all our current operations together for what I hope are obvious reasons, I am delighted that Les Hutchinson has been selected to be the Chief Operating Officer of our new charity and he is already hard at work.

The square underpins all these activities and represents the finance, secretariat and Relief Chest functions. The creation of a unified finance team will ensure that the very significant assets of the new charity are properly managed within all the appropriate regulations, and we are indebted to Chris Head for his help in getting this critical element up and running. Whilst we will be delighted to receive donations via any route, we would much prefer that the generous contributions of the Craft are made through the Relief Chest. It will also continue to deliver the valuable service that is already well-established on behalf of lodges, Provinces and festival appeals, and will be at the centre of our technological revolution.

Festival appeals will continue to be the main source of funding for MCF. During the first few years, those festivals that have already launched on behalf of one of the current four charities will continue to raise funds that will only be available for use according to the charitable objects of that particular charity.

However, this year will see the first MCF festivals launching in the Provinces of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The funds raised will be available for use according to need across the full spectrum of charitable support.

The third element of the MCF logo is the compasses.

I have described these as setting the key parameters for MCF and ensuring that our communication messages encompass everything we do. Specifically those working in this area will help set the strategic direction for the charity, devise ways to evaluate its performance and facilitate communication with all our stakeholders.

As a new charity, it is vitally important to create a vision, determine KPIs and monitor the effectiveness of all that it does, particularly the use of our resources. It is also important that we look to identify new opportunities in which the MCF, on behalf of Freemasonry, can increase its support to the masonic community and beyond. I’m delighted that Laura Chapman is bringing her considerable experience of masonic charitable support to bear in this important area.

One of the reasons for moving away from the current model of four separate charities was to simplify the message about what the central masonic charities actually do and for whom. We are determined to use the move to a single charity, with a single brand, as an opportunity to deliver a single and effective message to the widest possible audience. The MCF Communications Committee, very ably supported by Richard Douglas, is already hard at work refining a strategy that will cover all activities of the charity and will utilise the complete range of communication channels. The good old fashioned paper materials, like the leaflet that you were given as you arrived for this meeting, will still have an important role to play. Increasingly we will also embrace and exploit digital technology and social media. Beyond that there is also a need to support the Grand Lodge strategy for Freemasonry in the 21st century, and to increase awareness of Freemasonry amongst the charity sector and the wider community.

With the deadline of 1 April rapidly approaching, you will be delighted to hear that the first phase of what I see as a three phase consolidation process is nearly complete.

Having been formally appointed to my new position in December last year, I have focused on ensuring that the required foundations are in place. This has been mainly about developing a new, integrated organisation structure and systems suitable for the future. Another key task has been the formal TUPE consultation process in respect of the transfer of staff to the new charity. This is a time-consuming but vital step, and one that needs to be done properly and carefully. This phase is nearly complete and will see all staff from the three grant-making charities, as well as a few staff from the RMBI, transfer to MCF on 1 April. At the same time, the remainder of the RMBI staff will be transferring to the new RMBI Care Company.

Phase 2, between April and July this year, will see the actual reorganisation itself. Again, in full consultation with staff, it will involve changes to team structures and the physical relocation of staff within the office accommodation. It is quite likely that many employees will have a new line manager and will need to get used to different ways of working.

The transition from four charities to one has, as one of its main purposes, the improvement of the support and services provided to our many and varied stakeholders. This period of transition will be very challenging for everyone involved and I would wish to add my own tribute to the way in which all the staff have worked to bring about this major evolution in the way masonic charity is delivered. I have stressed from the outset that retaining their experience and expertise is vital to achieving change. I know that the staff and Trustees share my determination to prevent any disruption to, or degradation of, the services we provide. In particular, the needs of our beneficiaries will remain paramount throughout and I am absolutely determined that we do not drop the ball in the process – although I’m very happy for Wales to drop it a few times on Saturday!!

Following the reorganisation, there will need to be a period of bedding in. I anticipate this third phase beginning as the masonic year resumes and staff return from their summer holidays. It is my aim that, by December, all new working practices, policies and procedures are totally bedded in, the new grant-making software is fully operational and MCF is firmly established.

Looking beyond this year, I see 2017 as being a busy year for all concerned. In addition to delivering ‘business as usual’, MCF will be supporting the many and varied tercentenary celebrations in conjunction with Grand Lodge.

However, some things won’t change, such the wide range of support provided by the Masonic community for financial, health and family related needs. The simple difference will be that help will be available from a single source, via a single application process that uses standardised eligibility criteria. There will no longer be the need to remember what the four different charities do and risk applying to the wrong one in the wrong way. Further details are provided in the leaflet, which also contains all the relevant contact details for MCF and these are valid now.

Another thing that won’t change is our support to the wider, non-masonic community. Through MCF, Freemasons will continue to support registered charities that help those facing issues with education and employability, financial hardship, age related challenges, health, disability, social exclusion and disadvantage. Support will also continue to be available for the advancement of medical and social research, hospices throughout England and Wales, the air ambulance and other rescue services, as well as disaster relief appeals.

All in all, we anticipate no real change to the support available but a simpler, easier to understand, easier to access, more efficient and more responsive organisation delivering that support – which is considerable.

Each year, support is provided to over 5,000 Freemasons and their families which last year amounted to £15.5 million. In addition to the support given to the masonic community, MCF will also look to allocate between three and a half and five million pounds per year to non-masonic causes. There will also be extra money available next year to commemorate the Tercentenary and further details will be made available in due course.  We would welcome your support in ensuring that these messages are communicated to all those who need to hear them.

I hope you will deduce from what I have said that this is an exciting and busy time for Masonic charity.  The formation of MCF is good news for beneficiaries, good news for donors and good news for the wider community beyond Freemasonry.

Thank you for listening.  I will now hand back to James who will tell you how MCF will be governed and remain accessible to its membership.

James Newman

Thank you David. Before we finish this short presentation, it's important you all know how MCF is to be governed and how you and the Craft generally are all to be represented.

A Trustee Board has been formed, has already met three times and meets again tomorrow. It has representatives from each of the four current charities and an excellent mix of skills. We have set up a number of committees, who are already hard at work advising on new integrated policies, assisting the executive team and making recommendations to the Trustee Board.

So far, I am glad to say that all is going well, everyone is still talking to each other and there is, of course, lots of brotherly love!

So how will all of you and the Craft be represented and be able to get your views across to the new Trustee Board and executive team? The membership of MCF will consist of the Trustees themselves plus two appointees from Metropolitan Grand Lodge and two from each Province. These nominees will be approved at each Metropolitan or Provincial meeting so that you will all know who they are and can, therefore, ask them to represent your views. There will be at least two members' meetings each year, one of which will be outside London.

Brethren, I mentioned earlier the charity address in the NE corner during our initiation ceremony. That address to the candidate, clearly sets out that charity is one of the key principles of being a mason, one of which we should all be proud of. 

That is why today is such a red letter day for Freemasonry in general and masonic charity in particular. We are about to create a very large and we hope nationally recognised, charity, which will become a beacon for us all. The funds we shall have at our disposal have been built up by our predecessors over two and a quarter centuries, and we owe it to them and our current donors and beneficiaries, to make it a success.

Deputy Grand Master and brethren, on behalf of everyone associated with MCF, we hope that you have found this presentation useful and that you will now spread the word about MCF across your Provinces and down here in London. Thank you for listening and we look forward to updating you later in the year.

Published in Speeches

Howzat for a charity fundraiser?

The Province of West Kent organised the ideal opportunity to celebrate raising £3.25 million for the MSF at its Howzat! Festival day. The event featured a charity cricket match as well as arena entertainment and food and drink, and attracted Freemasons, their families and members of the local community to The Warren in Bromley. 

Children were entertained by fairground stalls, bungee runs and a climbing wall. For others, there were beer and Pimm’s tents; performances by the Scout and Guide Marching Band; and a duck herder, who held particular interest. 

The Province’s donation cheque was proudly displayed at its stand, which stood alongside stalls for the Masonic Fishing Charity and Hi Kent, a local charity for the deaf and hard of hearing. MSF Chief Executive Richard Douglas said, ‘It was a fantastic day and gave me the opportunity to meet the Freemasons of West Kent and thank them personally for their incredibly generous donations to the Masonic Samaritan Fund.’

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Festival target smashed by £1m

West Kent’s Festival for the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) has exceeded its target by more than £1 million, with the grand total of £3,253,148 announced in the presence of Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, MSF President Willie Shackell and MSF CEO Richard Douglas at Freemasons’ Hall in London. 

Shackell outlined some of the MSF’s projects, while Spence congratulated Provincial Grand Master Jonathan Winpenny for such a successful result. The PGM told the Province, ‘Your generosity has touched and changed so many lives. Be very proud of what has been done by the whole of the Province.’

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

The silver shortlist

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF), the trustees are making available £1 million in support of medical and care research projects

 The MSF is planning to award grants of up to £100,000 in 10 regions across England and Wales. Its Silver Jubilee Research Fund originally received 62 grant applications, seeking nearly £9 million in support. However, with only £1 million available through the fund, the charity will need to make some difficult decisions.

Since 2011, the MSF has supported research projects that aim to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and care available for illnesses and disabilities that affect masonic families and the wider community. Nearly £2 million has been awarded to large and small research organisations such as Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Carers UK and the A-T Society

Several research projects funded by the MSF have achieved significant success in their field. A £181,000 grant awarded to Alzheimer’s Research UK has helped to develop a new blood test that, it is hoped, will predict whether someone with early memory problems will develop Alzheimer’s within a year. Two grants totalling £75,000 awarded to RAFT (the Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust) have helped to develop a working prototype of a bionic arm fit for human trials, in a bid to compensate for the loss of a limb. A grant of £34,000, presented to Prostate Cancer UK, has helped Dr Hayley Whitaker and her team to identify that the presence of a specific protein can distinguish prostate cancers that are aggressive from those that may never seriously harm the patient. 

For further details about the Silver Jubilee Research Fund and the research studies shortlisted for a grant in your Province, please visit www.msfund.org.uk/research

Consulting for consolidation

The 2015 MSF members’ meeting was hosted at Freemasons’ Hall in March and marked the start of the formal process of consultation with the charity’s members regarding the proposal to consolidate the four central masonic charities. 

The proposed consolidation seeks to ensure that the full range of support currently provided by the central masonic charities will continue to be available to all eligible applicants and will be delivered in the most cost-effective manner.

Throughout the transition process and beyond, health and care grants will be accessible for eligible beneficiaries seeking treatment, care and support without undue delay or expense. 

Full details of the information provided by the MSF president and CEO are available at www.msfund.org.uk/news.php  

The consultation will conclude at the next members’ meeting on 29 October 2015. For further information on the consolidation of the charities, see www.masoniccharities.org.uk/review 

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Derbyshire’s festival finale

Freemasons and their families in Derbyshire have made a £2.4 million donation to the MSF after a six-year fundraising appeal

More than eight hundred Derbyshire Freemasons and guests gathered at the magnificent Devonshire Dome in Buxton for a gala dinner to celebrate the finale of the Derbyshire 2014 Festival, which raised the tremendous sum of £2,414,016.

During the meal, diners were entertained by the Three Waiters, singing popular operatic tunes, and a Fab Four tribute band playing Beatles hits. For the first time in an MSF Festival, and the second time in Derbyshire’s history, every masonic unit in every order made a donation. Members of Craft lodges in the Province donated an average of £741 each.

Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton congratulated the Province on its fundraising and on organising the occasion. MSF President Willie Shackell added, ‘Not only will this generous donation help the Fund to support the health and care needs of individuals but it will also enable us to continue funding much-needed medical research.’

Supporting wider needs

The MSF has expressed its thanks to all its fundraisers for their generosity in ensuring that sufficient funds are available to meet demand

Commenting on the MSF’s achievements in the last financial year (Oct 2013-Sep 2014), Chief Executive Richard Douglas notes that the Fund has allocated more grants than ever before: ‘1,578 grants have been given to support 1,462 applicants covering all areas of the Fund’s work: medical, dental, mobility, home adaptation, respite, counselling and consultation needs. This is a 12% increase in funds allocated and a 21% increase in the number of individuals supported compared with the previous year. The Fund allocated nearly £4.4 million to individuals, or £12,000 a day, across the year.’

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Lifting the worry

Each year, the Masonic Samaritan Fund and individual lodges contribute to prostate cancer research. The moving story of Freemason Ian Mcilquham and his family shows why this support is so vital, writes Andrew Gimson

In January this year, Ian Mcilquham saw some posters about prostate cancer. He had no symptoms, but his father and another member of his family had suffered from it, so he decided that it would be a good idea to go for a blood test. The result showed that he had a raised level of PSA (prostate-specific antigen), which can indicate the presence of the disease. A biopsy, carried out at the University Hospital of Wales, later confirmed that Ian had prostate cancer. 

As he was only fifty-two years old, Ian decided to undergo a radical prostatectomy – the removal of the prostate gland. However, the NHS in Wales only offers this procedure as an open (more invasive) operation, and Ian was told it could have bad side-effects – including incontinence, erectile dysfunction and being unlikely to be able to go back to work. His consultant advised him to have a robotic (less invasive) operation that is available from the NHS in some hospitals in England.

Because Ian lives in Wales, the only way to have this procedure in England would be at a private hospital, which would be very expensive. A member of Juventus Lodge, No. 8105, in South Wales Province, Ian works as a radiographer, and his wife, Penny, is a specialist nurse. They have three children: Kinsey, aged seventeen, Jourdain, aged fifteen and Kai, aged eleven – who at first was worried his father would die from the disease. 

Ian approached the Masonic Samaritan Fund for help. On the day he telephoned, the Fund emailed him back with authorisation for a private consultation in Bristol.

In Ian’s words, ‘The relief was unbelievable.’ The MSF then swiftly approved the funding application for his operation. ‘It wasn’t just the financial support from the MSF that helped, it was also the emotional support offered to me and my family. Lifting this worry was of greater importance, in some ways, than the financing of the surgery – they helped the entire family unit.’ 

Complete success

With his lodge providing support, Ian remembers that it was ‘weird’ having a major operation while feeling fine, but he knew that the longer he waited for treatment, the more likely it was that the cancer would spread. Five weeks after having the operation, laboratory analysis of his prostate tissue revealed that the surgery had been a complete success. Ian will now be monitored by an NHS hospital and his GP, meaning that he can focus on getting strong enough to return to work.

Richard Douglas, Chief Executive of the MSF, explains his charity’s approach: ‘We fund people who have a positive diagnosis, but can’t get the treatment they require on the NHS in a reasonable timescale.’ 

The MSF helps masons and their dependants, aiming to respond quickly in order to alleviate the anxiety of waiting. The charity is able to fund the cost of treatment for most eligible applications, and is also able to consider requests for research funding.

To save the lives of men with prostate cancer, early diagnosis is essential. Unfortunately, the PSA test does not always turn out to be correct. ‘Accurate diagnosis is the starting point to help men survive and have a better quality of life post-treatment,’ explains Richard. ‘With over 10,000 men dying each year from this disease, it’s time to give the experts the resources they need to beat prostate cancer for good.’

‘With over 10,000 men dying each year from this disease, it’s time to give the experts the resources they need to beat prostate cancer.’ Richard Douglas

The MSF has donated £34,625 to Prostate Cancer UK and has helped fund a research project at Cambridge University by Dr Hayley Whitaker, lead scientist of the Biomarker Initiative. She explains that the PSA test can detect lots of things that aren’t cancer, such as an enlarged prostate gland or inflammation. Moreover, only one in four cancers will become aggressive. 

Whitaker and her team of four researchers are trying to find new markers they can use to improve the PSA test. Their aim is to come up with half a dozen markers that will help provide a more accurate diagnosis. It may then be possible to avoid having a rectal examination, and, for some men, to avoid having a biopsy. 

The team at Cambridge have found a number of markers that are very promising, including two that identify patients who are more likely to relapse following surgery. ‘This means we can watch these patients more closely and attack the cancer harder,’ Whitaker explains, adding that the donation from the MSF has made a huge difference. ‘It’s given us such a great opportunity to do the work and we’re incredibly grateful.’

Gabriella Bailey, head of community fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, is keen to raise the awareness of the disease, which has been far less intensively researched than many other forms of cancer. 

‘Every one of the masonic lodges that’s raised money for Prostate Cancer UK is part of this movement for men, and we’re incredibly grateful for the support,’ says Bailey. ‘Since 2005, local masonic lodges have raised £476,000 for Prostate Cancer UK – a fantastic contribution to the work we’re doing.’

Between one hundred and one hundred and thirty lodges a year support Prostate Cancer UK, which employs a group of specialist nurses to provide support through a free telephone, email and web chat service and who are able to answer questions about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. In the UK, around one in eight men will get this disease. If you have any concerns, the Prostate Cancer UK website is a great place to start.

For more information about the disease and giving support, please visit www.prostatecanceruk.org 

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

Prostate Cancer UK has announced that a new study has found that the presence of a specific protein can distinguish between prostate cancers that are aggressive and need further treatment from those that may never seriously harm the patient

The Fund donated £34,625 towards the study earlier this year at the University of Cambridge. Dr Hayley Whitaker, Research Developer and Lead Researcher for Prostate Cancer UK accepted the donation from the MSF CEO Richard Douglas.

Dr Whitaker explained that the presence of these specific proteins now called NAALADL2, can be measured with a blood test, saving many men undergoing unnecessary tests and worry, whilst allowing faster, targeted treatment for men with aggressive prostate cancers. The hope is that this test will be available on the NHS in the next five to ten years.

Richard Douglas said: "Accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer is the starting point to help men survive and have a better quality of life post treatment. With over 10,000 men dying annually from this disease, that is one per hour, we're delighted to have made a significant contribution towards the funding Dr Whitaker needed to identify prostate cancers through a low cost blood test."

News of the successful study has reached national media including the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and BBC Health. The Masonic Samaritan Fund is delighted to have made a donation which will have a real impact on advanced medical diagnostics. 

Letters to the editor - No. 23 Autumn 20013

Charity appeal

Sir,

In 2006 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and each time I attended treatment, would take along the latest issue of Freemasonry Today and leave this in the waiting room. In 2008 my consultant asked if I was a Freemason, and if so, would the Freemasons support a prostate cancer appeal. 

I confirmed I was and pointed out that if the Freemasons supported the appeal, all donations would be from their own pockets; you would never see a Freemason outside a superstore shaking a bucket begging money from the public.

At this point in time a new hospital was being built alongside the old Salford Royal Hospital and the new Prostate Cancer Unit would be the most up to date in the area. 

With the assistance of brother Mike Burkes we created an appeal letter, which I placed in the letter rack of lodges in every masonic hall in and around Manchester, and my target was £10,000 from the brethren. At this moment in time the total has reached £76,000, which is fantastic, and the money continues to trickle in all the time. The name of the appeal is Men Matter Prostate Cancer Appeal.

Jeff Clubbe, Excelsior Lodge, No. 4641, Salford, East Lancashire

 

 

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund

The Masonic Samaritan Fund was delighted to host two Provincial Grand Masters and to witness a very generous show of West Country solidarity

RW Bro Ian Kingsbury, PGM for Devonshire, presented a cheque for £5,000 to his neighbouring PGM, RW Bro Peter George in support of the Cornwall 2013 Festival. On behalf of the MSF, Richard Douglas (CEO) welcomed both visitors and, in accepting the very generous donation, assured both PGMs that it would be put to good use on behalf of those in need of health and care support.

With only a month to go until the finale of the 2013 Cornwall Festival on behalf of the MSF, this very welcome donation from the Province of Devonshire is much appreciated by all concerned.

Published in Masonic Samaritan Fund
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