Celebrating 300 years
Tuesday, 12 September 2017 00:00

The MCF hit the road to celebrate Tercentenary

Over the past few months, the MCF has travelled up and down the country attending events to celebrate the Tercentenary year

From fun days to horse races, open days to classic car rallies, Masonic Charitable Foundation staff have been lending a hand and joining in with Tercentenary festivities. The MCF Human Fruit Machine quickly became a star attraction at the events and was enjoyed by both young and old, with winners receiving an MCF teddy bear as a keepsake.

The events were a fantastic way to celebrate the 300th anniversary of UGLE, as well as a chance to explain the charitable side of Freemasonry to members of the public. They also allowed staff members to talk to people who have benefited from the work of the charity and to spread the word to those who may need support in the future.

Encouraged by Freemasons’ engagement with the MCF over the past few months, the charity’s Chief Executive David Innes looks forward to the rest of this Tercentenary year

One of the major initiatives to commemorate the 300th anniversary of UGLE has been the MCF Community Awards – Tercentenary Fund. This unique initiative saw each Province and Metropolitan Grand Lodge select a number of charities within its borders to be eligible for a range of grants from £4,000 to £25,000. The masonic and non-masonic communities were then invited to vote, and we were staggered by the response, with more than 177,000 votes cast over the six-week period.

Thank you to all who voted and promoted the awards – you have made a tremendous difference to 300 charities across England and Wales. We know from our research that the awards have helped the public to gain a much better understanding of the philanthropic nature of Freemasonry, and this can only help us all as we move forward.

‘The Community Awards have helped the public to gain a much better understanding of the philanthropic nature of Freemasonry…’

Alongside the Community Awards, it has been wonderful to be part of many other celebrations. MCF staff have attended Tercentenary events across the country over the past few months, meeting many of you along the way. It has been a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the work that we do, reach out to those who may need our support and have some fun.

As we enter the final quarter of the year, one of our priorities is to ensure that our members have a greater role in our governance. As the voice of the Craft, it is vital we keep members at the heart of our decisions to ensure we remain relevant to our beneficiaries.

Those same members are our representatives in the Provinces and they do an excellent job raising awareness of us as an organisation. Our second members’ meeting, held in June, was a brilliant opportunity to exchange information and ideas.

Whether you’ve voted in our awards or donated to support our work, I thank you for all your efforts and hope you enjoy the rest of this Tercentenary year. Looking to the future, the new strategy for the MCF will be finalised by the end of 2017; I look forward to sharing it with you.

Breaking down barriers to learning for disadvantaged children, education charity Achievement for All has received its largest ever donation from the MCF

The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded a £240,000 grant to Achievement for All. The funds will support a project that will operate across England and Wales, directly helping 2,000 vulnerable children at 48 schools in each Metropolitan and Provincial area.

Richard Hone, President of the MCF, presented the grant to Professor Sonia Blandford, founder and CEO of Achievement for All, at a family fun day held at Royal Windsor Racecourse in July. The event attracted more than 10,000 people, who joined the Provinces of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to celebrate UGLE’s Tercentenary year. Members of staff from the MCF and Achievement for All were there to witness the presentation.

Richard said: ‘The MCF is proud to give £240,000 to help Achievement for All with their hugely important work with disadvantaged children. I am very pleased to present Professor Blandford with this certificate, which commemorates our support. I congratulate her on the outstanding work of her organisation and wish Achievement for All every success in the future.’

Professor Blandford told the audience: ‘We are delighted that the Masonic Charitable Foundation has donated such a significant amount to our charity, the impact of which will reach thousands of children and their families across the 48 Provinces. We will be sharing progress of our partnership over the next two years.’

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 00:00

MCF support helps Aimee to the top of the class

A core part of the Masonic Charitable Foundation’s work focuses on supporting educational opportunities for children and grandchildren of Freemasons who are under 25 years old and in full-time education

Learning is a crucial part of growing up. Unfortunately, some families struggle to support their children through their education, often due to redundancy, bereavement, ill health or a family breakdown.

When Aimee was 10 years old, her father was diagnosed with cancer. Just two years later, he died at the age of 45. The period that followed was difficult both emotionally and financially for the family, but Aimee’s grandfather Frederick – a Freemason, as her father had been – supported them.

By the time Aimee reached university, Frederick’s savings had run low, so he turned to the MCF. The charity provided a laptop as well as grants for accommodation, travel and other expenses, allowing Aimee to focus on her studies. She graduated from Cardiff University with first-class honours in psychology and has since gone on to complete a PhD.

‘I’m extremely grateful for all of the support from the MCF,’ says Aimee. ‘They have been fantastic and have enabled me to pursue a career I really love. I’ve also been accepted to study for a doctorate in clinical psychology.’

After almost 230 years of masonic support for children and young people through the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the beginnings of an MCF alumni are now emerging. The charity is incredibly proud to be able to help launch young people onto their chosen educational or career paths.

Sunday 10th September saw the annual pilgrimage of runners and fundraisers flocking to the North East to take part in the largest half marathon in the world – the annual Great North Run

This spectacle is watched and participated in by people from all over the world and encapsulates the human spirit with many dressing up in outrageous fancy dress before pounding 13.1 miles of pavement – all in the name of charity.

This year, amongst the 57,000 participants, an orange glow was visible amongst the Batmen and Robins, dinosaurs, women in wedding dresses, cavemen, munchkins and even a man carrying a full-size race bike… on his back!

The orange glow was coming from the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) shirts worn by 28 Durham Freemasons running for that very cause. Many had just taken up running for this occasion and had worked for months in preparation for the big day.

It all paid off though as the group managed to raise over £39,000 towards their 2021 Festival, in aid of the MCF.

Ewan Gordon and Oxfordshire Provincial Junior Grand Warden Dale Osborne clocked up the miles in the name of charity, as they walked from Oxford to Freemasons’ Hall

The intrepid pair started their journey on Saturday 5th August along the Thames Path, managing around 20 miles a day, and have helped to raise £3,000 for the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) in the process.

Five days later and having completed their journey outside Freemasons’ Hall on Thursday 10th August, they were greeted by David Innes, MCF Chief Executive, and Les Hutchinson, MFC Chief Operating Officer.

You can sponsor the pair by clicking here

Tuesday, 08 August 2017 06:00

MCF donate £80,000 to The Children's Trust

The Children's Trust have been presented with a grant for £80,000 to help support hundreds of children with brain injuries

The Children’s Trust’s brain injury specialists are experienced clinicians, who will work with the child, family and school, providing advice, brain injury education and classroom strategies to support each child.

The grant will be used to fund the role of a Brain Injury Specialist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital who will support around 500 children across South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and North Derbyshire over the next two years.

The grant from Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families from across England and Wales.

Stuart Grantham of Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons commented: 'We are very pleased to be able to help The Children’s Trust who do hugely important work supporting hundreds of children across South Yorkshire and beyond.'

Twelve Hinckley Freemasons are taking on the National Three Peaks Challenge, to celebrate the United Grand Lodge of England's Tercentenary and raise money for the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Lawrence House

The National Three Peaks Challenge will involve climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in just 24 hours.

The Freemasons are all from Hinckley Lodges including Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50,  Burbach Lodge No. 8699 and Lodge of St Simon and St Jude No. 8729.

The challenge starts at Ben Nevis in Scotland on Saturday 2nd September 2017, followed by Scafell Pike in England and finishing on Snowdon in Wales.

Organiser W Bro David Fell commented: 'Taking on the National Three Peaks challenge is a great way to celebrate the Tercentenary and raise money for the 2022 Festival for the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Lawrence House, which supports homeless young people in the Hinckley area.'

The Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, RW Bro David Hagger said: 'I wish all of our walkers a safe expedition and thank them for their support in raising money for two wonderful charities.'

Donations to the challenge can be made by clicking here

A grant of £4,000 from Surrey Freemasons was recently presented to crew members of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance

The grant, which comes from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, is funded by Freemasons and their families across England and Wales.

A cheque presentation was held at the charity’s Redhill base, followed by a presentation from Director of Operations, Leigh Curtis, about how their continuing support has made such a difference.

The life-saving charity operates throughout the South East covering an area of 3,500 square miles and a population of 4.5million people. So far this year, their crews have been called to more than 600 missions, helping the most critically ill and injured people in the region.

During 2017, Freemasons around the country will be presenting 20 regional air ambulance charities with grants totalling £180,000.

Lynne Harris, Director of Income Generation for the charity, said: 'We are so grateful to Surrey Freemasons for their continuing generosity. Without support like this, we simply would not be able to continue our life-saving work.'

David Olliver, Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Surrey Freemasons, said: 'We are so pleased to continue supporting the great work of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance. Supporting the work they carry out in our communities every day is something to be proud of.'

W Bro Barrie Hewitt, PAGDC, has been presented with the Badge of the Order of Mercy by Lord Lingfield, President of The League of Mercy at Mansion House, London

The presentation ceremony on Tuesday 11th July 2017 was followed by an informal tea with the Sheriff of the City of London Lord Lingfield and the Trustees of the League of Mercy. Also in attendance were Barrie’s wife Christine, Provincial Grand Master Mike Wilks and his wife Kay and W Bro Les Hutchinson, Chief Operating Officer of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Barrie Hewitt received the award in recognition of his outstanding contribution over the course of six years as Provincial Grand Charity Steward of Hampshire & Isle of Wight, towards their 2016 Festival which raised over £7.7 million for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. Barrie drove hundreds of miles around the Province to attend numerous Lodge meetings and deliver his presentation about the Festival in order to encourage Brethren to support it by making contributions and organising fundraising events.

At a national level, Barrie attended annual Festival Forums, giving advice and sharing his expertise with Provincial Grand Charity Stewards across the country. As well as working tirelessly for the Festival, Barrie also managed the Province’s ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ and carried out his other duties as Provincial Charity Steward.

Barrie has been a Freemason for over 30 years and was appointed to the Grand Rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2013.

Provincial Grand Master Mike Wilks commented: ‘I am so pleased that Barrie has been honoured in this way by a non-Masonic organisation which recognises distinguished voluntary work across the country. Barrie was one of just 25 to receive an award this year – a great accolade to a dedicated and committed Freemason.’

The League of Mercy was founded in 1899 by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria at the instigation of the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. The object of the League was to establish a body of volunteers who would assist with the maintenance of voluntary hospitals and otherwise relieve sickness and suffering. Central to the activities of the League was an annual ceremony at which about 50 people were awarded a medal known as the Order of Mercy. When the 1948 National Health Act abolished these hospitals, the League was quietly wound up.

The League of Mercy was re-founded in 1999 as a registered charity, exactly 100 years to the day after it was first established. Central to its aims are “the encouragement and recognition of distinguished voluntary work within the areas of care, which include the sick, injured or disabled, young people at risk, the homeless, the elderly, the dying and those who are impaired in mind”.

Each year the League receives many nominations from charities and other recognised organisations from which the Trustees select about 25 outstanding volunteers, who are then invited to receive the Badge of the Order of Mercy. This is a hallmarked silver gilt representation of the original 1899 design.

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