At a celebration dinner to mark the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England, Northumberland Freemasons gave away £300,000 to local charities
Provincial Grand Master of Northumberland Ian Craigs hosted the event at St James’ Park where almost 800 Freemasons, their families and special guests from North East charities celebrated the Tercentenary. Special guest of the evening was Pro Grand Master Peter Geoffrey Lowndes.
Although the evening was filled with entertainment, good food and distinguished guests, it was the charitable side of Freemasonry that stole the show.
Ian Craigs explained that the Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland has given away £300,000 to local charities this year to boost worthwhile and deserving projects throughout the region. There are 27 lodge meeting places across North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland and the donations all went to local good causes.
Ian Craigs commented: ‘We’ve tried to donate money to charities close to each lodge building so that we can really make a positive impact on local projects and causes near to where Masonry takes place.
‘Our donations, which were all chosen by our members, will go a long way towards helping the charities concerned carry on their sterling work. This is one of the main things that Freemasons do and often we give without telling anyone. This year, we celebrate our 300th year and we’d like everyone to know how we help their local community.’
Leading Link’s manager Julie Greener said: ‘This is a very generous donation that will help us to give valuable skills to the young people of Northumberland. At the moment, we are working on a mentoring scheme that is helping vulnerable young people in the more rural parts of the county. We are very grateful to Northumberland Freemasons for the opportunity to carry on with our work.’
In addition to the 33 charities who attended the celebration event, a further 45 will receive cheques for the good work they do to help the people of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
Freemasons have given £50,000 to the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital to provide support for the families of children with life-threatening heart problems
Treatment can last for months and can be an enormous strain for families. A specialist support worker, Jan O’Donell, has been recruited and trained by the fund, in conjunction with St Oswald’s Hospice.
She will work with parents and siblings, as well as being available for hospital staff who inevitably sometimes struggle with the emotional impact of their jobs.
The masonic grant includes £45,000 from the Masonic Charitable Foundation, with a further £5,000 donated by the Northumberland and Durham Red Cross of Constantine Freemasons’ Care of Children Fund.
Five Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons have been selected to play in an international charity rugby match between English and Scottish Freemasons
The match is to be held on Saturday 23rd May 2015 at Gateshead Fell Rugby Ground where Bros Andrew ‘Jock’ Keenan, Joseph Maxim, Andrew Rathbone, and Michael ‘Spike’ Forster, all from Enderby Lodge No. 5061, together with Bro David Shepherd from St Wilfrid’s Lodge No. 8350, aim to assist in retaining the trophy for England.
They have already made the trip to Newcastle in April for a training camp and are now ready to take part in the big match. The event will be concluded by a black tie ball at the Marriot Hotel, Gateshead which includes a four-course dinner and live entertainment.
The international match was originally conceived by W Bro Horner of the Province of Northumberland after they challenged the Durham Masonic Rugby Football Club to a game of rugby, partly for a bit of fun but also to raise money for the charities supported by the Northumberland team.
This is the second time these teams have played each other, and Scotland are keen to avenge last August’s defeat by the English at Murrayfield. The matches are keenly fought, and are celebrated afterwards in the spirit of true masonic friendship.
Ewan’s Disneyland dream comes true
A trip to Disneyland in Paris for 15-year-old Ewan Barry has been arranged by Northumberland masons. Ewan has a life-limiting condition called Friedreich’s ataxia, which progressively attacks every muscle in the body. With a number of related conditions, Ewan is confined to a wheelchair and is losing his eyesight.
A charity event was held at South Shields – arranged by Jeff Parkin, Ewan’s father and Master of Ionic Lodge, No. 6344 – to help finance the visit for him and his family. Lodge Almoner Tony George obtained a grant of £4,000 from the Richard Henry Holmes Masonic Benevolent Fund, with the remaining £1,000 needed for the trip raised at the charity evening.
The inaugural Province of Northumberland versus the Province of Durham charity rugby match, the Northumberland Masonic Rugby Club (Wok Smugglers), in support of the year-long campaign for Byker Masonic Hall's 2012 two chosen charities, are pleased to advise that through their combined efforts the Evening Chronicle Sunshine Fund and the Teenage Cancer Trust are looking healthier to the tune of £2,000.
Over a year in the planning, the long-awaited rugby match took place at Ryton Rugby Club on Saturday 30 June 2012, rearranged from the original venue at Novocastrians Rugby Club due to storms of biblical proportions hitting the North East of England two days previously.
Both teams were presented to W Bro David Lillie who represented the Province of Northumberland, with W Bro George Clark being in attendance on behalf of the Province of Durham. The game itself ended in a fine victory for the Northumberland representatives, who ran out 62 – 10 winners.
Man of the match awards chosen by the rival teams gained approval by a healthy crowd of 150 or so hardy souls. Durham’s number 2, Adam Hill, and Northumberland’s 19, Dan O’Sullivan, received the respective accolades. O’Sullivan’s staggering haul of four tries and four conversions totalling 28 points marked him out as the superior player on the pitch. Credit should go to the mascots and ball boys for the day, Ethan White, Ethan Lavender and Mason Miller, who ensured a flowing game never flagged. A special mention should go to referee Alan Dickinson for officiating a game of novices with little knowledge of the game rules.
The after match celebrations were held at Byker Masonic Hall, where a well attended evening saw an emotional presentation of the Alice Gingell Memorial Trophy to Captain Mick Prior and Vice Captain Frazer Hill by the Gingell family.
The evening raised even more money for the charities by those very generous attendees, where players, wives and partners enjoyed a magnificent evening of fun and entertainment to round off the day.
Another story to come out of the match was when W Bro Andrew Smith's son Peter put his weight behind the event. Peter Smith had carried the Olympic torch through Prudhoe on Saturday 16th June and brought the torch along on the day. Peter agreed to have his photo taken of the torch with those who attended in exchange for a donation towards the Evening Chronicle Sunshine Fund. Peter was keen to help this worthy charity as he has been a recipient of their efforts in the past. He raised £120 which will be added to the ongoing campaign.
Following their support in 2009 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and their decision to support it again in 2010, Achilles University Lodge, No. 4078, in the Province of Northumberland made good their promise. Sunil Khanna and Shammi Nair, acting on behalf of Master Gursharan Sarang, met former England and Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer, patron of the Bobby Robson Foundation, to present the cheque for £2,608.
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation focuses on the clinical trials of cancer drugs and treatments and has already equipped a trials unit at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. It has also funded a specialist research nurse and doctor. The Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre offers patients from across north-east England, North Yorkshire and Cumbria access to early trials and potential new treatments.