The Masonic Charitable Foundation’s CEO David Innes explains how the charity aims to create a single organisation with a shared vision
After many years of careful planning, it was exciting when on 1 April 2016 the staff from the four central masonic charities finally transferred to the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the new charity at the heart of Freemasonry. At the same time, legal control of the four charities passed from their individual boards of trustees to the MCF Board. The next stage will be to integrate everybody into a single staff team with a shared vision and a common culture. I am optimistic that this will be achieved over the next few months.
In parallel, the new MCF Board will be formulating ideas as to how it would like the Foundation to evolve. Their thoughts will be shared with the members of the MCF (two representatives from each Province and Metropolitan Grand Lodge) later in the year.
One of our early initiatives has been to provide a number of leaflets and videos, as well as an informative new website. In addition, presentations are already scheduled in many Provinces to ensure that members of the Craft can hear about their new charity first-hand.
Our first year will be challenging and it is vital that the needs of our beneficiaries remain paramount. With your help, I am confident we will meet that challenge.
‘Presentations are already scheduled in many Provinces to ensure that members of the Craft can hear about their new charity first-hand.’
In the picture
Building of the year
Influenced by architecture in the Netherlands and the US, the Royal Masonic Hospital won an award for its modern design in 1933
The 1930s saw several significant new masonic buildings in and around London. Freemasons’ Hall on Great Queen Street was under construction from 1928 with its formal opening in 1933. The foundation stone of the Royal Masonic School for Girls at Rickmansworth was laid in 1930 and the building itself opened by Queen Mary four years later.
Architecturally the most significant of these buildings was the Freemasons’ Hospital and Nursing Home, opened at Ravenscourt Park in July 1933 by King George V and Queen Mary and then renamed the Royal Masonic Hospital.
The hospital was designed by the leading architectural partnership of Sir John Burnet, Tait & Lorne, with Thomas Smith Tait as the lead architect. His design was modern, influenced by trends in the US and the Netherlands, and it won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal for the best building of the year in 1933. The same firm designed the Nurses’ Home on an adjacent site, which was opened in 1938.
The current exhibition at the Library and Museum, Healing Through Kindness, marks the centenary of the formation of a masonic hospital, and includes pictures and more details about the award-winning building
Lift for London Air Ambulance
Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master Ian Currans has received a cheque for £4,000 on behalf of the Metropolitan Masonic Charity, in support of the appeal to help London’s Air Ambulance charity acquire and run a second helicopter for the city. The cheque was presented by members of Kynaston Studd Lodge, No. 5416, following a presentation of ‘Talking Heads – The Next Step: Into The Royal Arch’.
London Freemasons have pledged £2 million towards the London Air Ambulance’s £4.4 million ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign, which saw the second air ambulance go into operation on 28 January this year.
Lodge Master Mike Binsted said, ‘London Freemasons are well over halfway to raising our target of £2 million to … extend the flying hours and capability of the London Air Ambulance advanced trauma team.’
Independent lives for veterans
Representatives from the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Wales visited the Blind Veterans UK centre in Llandudno to award the charity a £100,000 donation from The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. Provincial Grand Master Ieuan Redvers Jones presented the cheque to Blind Veterans UK chief executive Major General Nick Caplin.
The money will help in the refurbishment of buildings being turned into residential units for Blind Veterans UK’s Life Skills for Independent Living project in Llandudno. Delivering tailored, specialised training programmes to young, blind or limbless veterans at risk of homelessness, the project will focus on ensuring the most vulnerable ex-servicemen and women can live as independently as possible.
Somerset lodge backs YMCA recruitment
Kaz Marsh, deputy chief executive of Mendip YMCA at Wells, was presented with a cheque for £2,695 by Somerset Freemason Mike Perrée of Kenneth Kinnersley Lodge, No. 9218, which meets at Midsomer Norton.
With £1,695 raised by lodge members and friends during Mike’s year as master, an additional £1,000 was added by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset. The money will go towards funding training and support for volunteers, with the charity particularly in need of volunteers for youth clubs in Street and Glastonbury.
Four of a kind in Cambridge
It was a red letter day for Nourse Lodge, No. 8590, which meets at Cambridge, when it saw its second successive double initiation ceremony during the year. The occasion was particularly significant as it also marked the entry of a fourth-generation mason, conducted by three of the family.
Charles Goodwyn was the initiate, while his uncle Nick conducted the ceremony with his father Roger and grandfather Graham assisting. The fourth generation of the family, Norman Watson, was unable to be present but sent a message. Among the guests on this special day was Cambridgeshire PGM William Dastur.
Bucks initiative raises prostate cancer awareness
To raise awareness of prostate cancer, Buckinghamshire Freemasons held PSA testing sessions at three masonic centres. PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland and the test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood.
The Buckinghamshire sessions invited any mason in the Province to bring a friend along and for both to be tested at no charge. Around 10 per cent of those tested had elevated levels and were referred on to their GPs. Tony Dyckes of Hall Barn Lodge, No. 8480, had a raised PSA, prompting further tests in December that confirmed he had prostate cancer. APGM Peter Moody and Teddies for Loving Care programme organiser Mel Shah brought the two initiatives together and presented Tony with a friend to keep him company in hospital.
Manchester blood donor honoured
Peter Blackhurst, Master of Charity Centenary Lodge, No. 3786, which meets at Farnworth, East Lancashire, has been presented with an award from the NHS Blood and Transplant service for donating 100 pints of blood. He was one of 30 individuals honoured in a ceremony at Gorton Monastery for donors in the Manchester area who had reached such a milestone.
Kidney disease exercise in Leicester
A group of scientists from the University of Leicester, funded by Kidney Research UK together with the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, are working towards understanding which exercise methods will best help people with kidney disease to stabilise their conditions.
Dr Alice Smith and a team of doctors, psychologists and physiotherapists, all based at Leicester General Hospital, aim to determine how exercise can help kidney patients maximise their health, quality of life and independence.