From the Grand Secretary
I trust you have all had an enjoyable summer and are looking forward to the new Masonic season. September marks the start of my third year in post, and how time flies when you’re busy! UGLE thankfully quietens down in August, giving staff and the Organisation time to take stock of what we have achieved over the last year, and where we want the next 12-18 months to take us.
Undoubtedly one of the major highlights this year was the dedication of a memorial stone to those, our members, awarded the Victoria Cross. The Most Worshipful Grand Master commented that, having served in the armed forces for more than 20 years, he understood the common values shared by Freemasonry and the services – camaraderie, respect, integrity – and the ideals of service and tradition. It is an extraordinary fact that 14 per cent of all Victoria Cross recipients have been Freemasons and we were proud to be able to recognise and celebrate this at Freemasons’ Hall in London. Perhaps we should be mindful of that part of our ritual, delivered on the presentation of a Hall Stone Jewel to a new Worshipful Master, which tells us that it should ‘ever provide an inspiration to every Brother to put service before self’.
Freemasons’ Hall was, of course, built as a peace memorial to those brethren who lost their lives in the Great War and we have been thinking hard about how we can use our fabulous Grade II-listed building to help inform and educate people about Freemasonry. By the time you read this, having worked closely with the Museum of Freemasonry, the first members of the public will have undertaken a redesigned tour of Freemasons’ Hall. It sets out to explain not only our history, but also our contemporary relevance, and includes a newly commissioned 10-minute film, which will be seen by our 40,000-plus visitors a year. It helps us launch a new approach as to how we define and regard ourselves. We are less apologetic for the misguided views of others, and instead talk about the positives of membership, both in terms of the benefits for the individual member and for society at large. What other organisation can boast charitable donations of more than £45 million a year? What other boasts an annual delivery of over five million hours of unpaid community and voluntary service? What other seeks to make people better individuals through philosophical and philanthropic engagement?
Freemasonry offers a simple philosophical message to its members and one that we should all be proud of: that within each of us is a thoughtful, kind, tolerant and respectful individual. Our purpose is not only to promote virtue, but also to promote a thoughtful approach to being virtuous. It is centred around an analogy of building, or creating, and thus by chipping away our rough edges, Freemasonry teaches us to chip away at our inadequacies, revealing the better person we can be, one more fit to serve those less fortunate than ourselves, those who have fared less well in life than us, and those communities from which we are drawn. Of course, all Freemasons will know and appreciate these points, but it is now our aim and intention to share these messages with the public, starting with the new public tour and closely followed by other supportive material.
We have an amazing history, often at the forefront of monumental social and economic change, as anyone who has watched the DVD of our Tercentenary celebrations cannot fail to appreciate. We have such a story to tell and intend to be confident and committed when speaking about our many strengths and the reasons why we are just as relevant today as we have been in decades and centuries past. Watch this space, and let us know how you think we are doing!
In other developments, we intend to produce, for the first time in our history, an annual report explaining to you, our membership, how your fees and dues are spent, while explaining to both you and the public what it is that UGLE does and how well we do it. Many of you will be involved in helping us collate the information we need, so look out for this over the coming months as we work towards a publication date of March 2020.
‘Project Hermes’ is in full swing, looking at how we can update our processes to modernise the management of our membership, ensuring that some of the more laborious and outdated demands placed upon Lodge and Provincial Secretaries concerning collecting data, paying dues and keeping up-to-date records are simplified and made more accessible to those who need to see, use and work with them. We hope to be able to have a much fuller article explaining this in our next edition.
In short, as ever, there is plenty going on to keep us all busy, but if you find yourself in London with an hour or so to spare, please do book into our new tour via the Museum of Freemasonry website – we can guarantee an enjoyable way to make that all-important daily advancement in Masonic knowledge!
Dr David Staples
‘Our redesigned tour of Freemasons’ Hall sets out to explain not only our history, but also our contemporary relevance, and includes a newly commissioned 10-minute film, which will be seen by our 40,000-plus visitors a year’
Standing on ceremony
As Grand Director of Ceremonies, Oliver Lodge bows out of the position he’s cherished for 10 years. He tells Peter Watts why the last decade has been an honour and a pleasure
Given his surname, it was perhaps inevitable that Oliver Lodge would one day go into Freemasonry. However, it’s a family connection rather than nominative determinism that first got him into the Craft. Having joined his father in the Lodge of Antiquity in 1988, he embraced Freemasonry to such an extent that he has just completed a decade as Grand Director of Ceremonies (GDC) – a longer period in the job than anybody else alive.
‘It’s the best job in Freemasonry,’ he says of the role he relinquished in April. ‘It’s a kind of focal point because the job is to make sure the ceremonies work. You are hugely privileged in that you spend time with the longest serving Grand Master (GM) in the world, and also get the pleasure of having a role in which you know you can really make a difference.’
During his 10 years as GDC, Oliver organised more than 50 Provincial and District installations, and attended numerous meetings of Grand Lodge, Supreme Grand Chapter and Rulers’ visits to lodges and chapters around the world. He was also responsible for the smooth running of the Tercentenary celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2017, an event that had no precedent in the history of Freemasonry and required a mixture of logistical acumen and creative originality.
Parades and pageantry
There’s an element of the theatre director in this work. The GDC must make sure that everybody knows their lines, where to stand and when to arrive, while the ceremonies themselves have a carefully choreographed theatricality. But Oliver laughs at the idea that the role allowed his latent showmanship to blossom.
‘I don’t think I’m a frustrated theatre director, but it’s a nice contrast to my day job and it’s a pleasure to do something that’s completely different,’ he says. ‘Ceremonies are only theatrical in the sense that they endeavour to be impressive. You want to leave an impression, for it to have been a real event for those attending.’
Like most GDCs, Oliver spent three years as a Deputy, allowing him to observe the position up close and occasionally step up and stand in for the GDC. It was another three years after his stint as Deputy had ended that he was invited to take the main job. Although it required a great deal of commitment, it wasn’t something he was inclined to turn down. Over the next decade, Oliver strove to fine-tune rather than change installation ceremonies; instead, tweaking those elements that weren’t quite succeeding to ensure the experience was enhanced for all those attending and participating.
The role also meant travelling around the Commonwealth for installations, and Oliver has visited lodges as far afield as the Caribbean, Africa and Far East. ‘That’s been a fantastic part of the job, seeing the variety across the Districts,’ he says. ‘The ceremonies themselves are virtually identical, but there are some very striking cultural differences, including attitudes to punctuality! In England, we tend to take that quite seriously, but in other countries it’s perfectly acceptable to be an hour late. That’s not in any sense a criticism, it’s just a fact. But it’s one that doesn’t sit comfortably with having a very busy day and a tight time-frame!'
One aspect of the role that Oliver was happy to take very seriously was his responsibility in ensuring that each person being installed could enjoy a momentous occasion in their Freemason’s life. ‘It’s a very significant time for them; they want to remember it with pleasure and for their brothers to feel like they’ve seen a splendid spectacle,’ he says. ‘Little things do go wrong, but the aim is to ensure that it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the ceremony and is skilfully covered up so it doesn’t spoil the impact. The only way to do that is in a way that means most people will come away thinking, “I don’t know why they did it that way, but it was fantastic anyway.”’
The Tercentenary celebration required an even greater attention to detail as the eyes of the entire world of Freemasonry were on the Royal Albert Hall. Oliver remembers this as a ‘wonderful challenge’ that went off (almost) without a hitch. Eradication of risk was an important consideration in the planning, as he had to imagine every- and anything that might go wrong. This meant making strategic decisions on such things as the entrance parade, sometimes favouring safety over drama. ‘In any procession, the instruction should never be more complicated than “Follow the person in front,”’ he says.
‘There’s a significant responsibility and I’ve always taken that very seriously. Little things do go wrong, but the aim is to ensure that it doesn’t disrupt the flow of the ceremony and spoil the impact’
The best job ever
More problematic was the Grand Master’s Reception which took place the previous evening, at which 135 GMs from around the world were due to meet HRH The Duke of Kent. Second-guessing that many of them would bring gifts for the Grand Master of UGLE, Oliver asked the Grand Lodge Museum team to curate an exhibition of the gifts that would take place immediately after the ceremony. This was quite an undertaking for the curatorial team who had to obtain the gifts from attendees, research the items’ history and then exhibit them with a printed label – all during the short time of the reception. A tough job got even tougher when the ceremony began some 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.
‘Everything was going smoothly when, after the tour of the exhibition, the curator turned to me and said, “Thank you so much for starting early.” I’d completely forgotten to warn her! Luckily, she did an absolutely amazing job.’
We have the Tercentenary to thank that Oliver made it to the 10-year mark as GDC – there was no way he could relinquish his position months before it started, and he then had to deal with a backlog of Provincial and District ceremonies in 2018. His time in ‘the best job in Freemasonry’ may now be over, but Oliver hopes to continue to support the organisation for years to come.
‘My only ambition now is to help Freemasonry flourish and I will happily do whatever I can to achieve that,’ he says. ‘One significant reason for delivering impressive ceremonies is precisely that – it helps members enjoy their Freemasonry. If you attend a ceremony, it should be a real pleasure, and that has always been my motivation.’
Dwight St. George Reece was installed as the new District Grand Master and Grand Superintendent for the District Grand Lodge of Jamaica & the Cayman Islands on 20 July 2019, with UGLE’s Pro Grand Master, Peter Lowndes, conducting the ceremony
Alongside the other Caribbean District Grand Masters, those from Bahamas & Turks, Bermuda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, as well as Suffolk’s Provincial Grand Master Ian Yeldham, they joined UGLE’s Grand Secretary, Dr David Staples, and Grand Director of Ceremonies, Charles Hopkinson-Woolley, in participating in the ceremony held at the AC Hotel Kingston in St Andrew, Jamaica.
After being installed, Dwight thanked his predecessor Walter Scott who served 10 years as District Grand Master.
The ceremony was then followed by a celebratory banquet at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
The British Red Cross has launched a pilot scheme in North Wales to help people build independence and better links with their communities and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. The move comes thanks to a £84,460 grant from North Wales Freemasons
The Pathways to Better Health service aims to help over-50s in Conwy and Denbighshire who have been identified as needing extra support due to a pattern of frequent hospital attendance or calls to the emergency services.
The project will help people who call 999 or go to emergency departments (ED) more than 12 times a year, many of whom are among the most vulnerable members of our communities with few alternative sources of help. They may have multiple, complex needs including loneliness, social isolation or drug and alcohol dependency issues.
Figures for 2017 show that frequent attenders accounted for 86,000 Welsh ED attendances costing £36.4 million to the NHS.
The scheme, which runs for a year, will enable trained Red Cross staff to work in partnership with emergency services and ED teams to find people who could benefit, and refer them to the service.
The project team will then work with people to identify the root causes of their frequent attendance, and support them to develop coping strategies. By providing emotional and practical support, helping to build confidence, and signposting to other services in their community that could help, the team will aim to increase a person’s health and well-being, independence and resilience.
It is hoped this will reduce the number of calls to the emergency services and visits to the NHS, saving money, freeing up resources and improving the lives of those who are helped by the project.
In a previous pilot project in Swansea, the results revealed 96 per cent of people helped reported a positive change in emotional health, a 70 per cent positive change in physical health and a 69 per cent positive change in reducing loneliness and isolation.
The pilot, which was launched by the British Red Cross in November 2017, covered the Western Bay area in Wales including Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea. It helped 22 people for 16 weeks and resulted in a huge reduction in 999 calls and hospital attendances from the participants.
The grant from North Wales Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Stanislava Sofrenic, Independent Living Operations Manager for Red Cross Wales said: 'We are thrilled to have launched this scheme in North Wales. I’d like to thank North Wales Freemasons for their generous donation, which has enabled us to set up this invaluable scheme.
'Our smaller pilot project in Swansea demonstrated that early intervention with people who use NHS and emergency services frequently has a significant impact both on improving their lives and reducing pressures on NHS and emergency services’ resources. We are looking forward to working with our partner organisations over the next 12 months and helping people across Conwy and Denbighshire.'
John Hoult, Provincial Grand Master for North Wales, said: 'We’re very pleased to be able to support the fantastic work being done by the British Red Cross in North Wales. This will have a huge impact on the users of the emergency services and will make a big difference to improving their lives.'
Last year, Cheshire’s Provincial Grand Master Stephen Blank set a challenge to members to organise an event promoting awareness and building support for the Cheshire Freemasons Charity
John Miller was first to step forward and so developed the idea of organising a sponsored bike ride from Chester to London, utilising only the intricate canal network and towpaths that weave between Cheshire’s’ county town and capital city.
The route was agreed from the Masonic Hall in Queen Street, Chester, to Freemasons’ Hall at Great Queen Street following the Shropshire Union Canal to Wolverhampton, then the routes through Birmingham, picking up the Grand Union Canal near Solihull and following that into the heart of London, some 230 miles and crossing several masonic Provinces.
The team consisted of 16 riders with a support team of two and given the rough terrain and general riding conditions it was agreed to limit each day to between 40 and 50 miles allowing the challenge to be completed within five or six days. Riders were tasked with raising sponsorship and several Cheshire businesses sponsored the exclusive team shirts produced in order to support logistical costs such as travel, accommodation and food.
A black tie benefit event was also held within the Province which greatly contributed to the costs of the task ahead. To make the most of the fine English weather, the departure date was set for 6th June and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master David Dyson was present to see the team off safely from the Chester start point, and the Provincial Grand Master put a date in his diary to meet the exhausted riders outside the doors of Great Queen Street on the 11th June, what could possibly go wrong? The answer is Storm Miguel – which for three days of the journey tested each and every rider for their tenacity, and for how waterproof their kit truly was.
In the main the team discovered that waterproofs aren’t that effective in the face of a tropical storm, and indeed for two of the riders who managed to fall in to the canal, and are now affectionately referred to as the ‘Cheshire Splash Masters’. Cheshire’s Provincial Office reached out to Provinces that the riders would pass through en route.
Shropshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire were all kind enough to offer a warm welcome and kind words of encouragement, as well as contributions, a true reflection of communication, commitment and teamwork by Freemasons. It is noteworthy that during the ride, many conversations with members of the public took place, lifting the profile of Freemasonry in general, and additional contributions were made by many of these non-Masons met along the way in support of the rider’s objectives.
A joint effort between the riders and HQ meant the Communications team were able to promote the event on social media platforms, using the dynamic mapping of GPS, daily blogs and great pictures sent by the riders each day.
Followers loved watching the daily progress made by the cyclists. The event organiser, John Miller, was keen to ensure the fundraising aims were kept clearly in the spotlight throughout the event via the online donation link and ‘interviewed’ members of the team at each overnight stay so this could be broadcast. The ride ended with the entire team completing the journey.
The total fundraising was then announced that over £22,000, which this was increased at Quarterly Communications the following day when the Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes made a donation to the Cheshire Freemasons Charity of a further £1,000.
A well-planned cooperative effort, ably supported by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), has enabled a significant £60,000 donation to be made to Thames Hospice, on behalf of the Freemasons of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire
This great example of fraternal cooperation resulted in a significant grant to support the construction of its new hospice in Bray near Maidenhead.
After several weeks of planning, the Provincial Grand Masters of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Anthony Howlett-Bolton and John Clark respectively, together with representatives of their Provincial Charities, met up with Debbie Raven, CEO of Thames Hospice, to formally present their combined donation in front of the site of the new hospice, which was from the Berkshire Masonic Charity, the Buckinghamshire Masonic Centenary Fund and the MCF.
Serving both Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, Thames Hospice opened in 1987 but is now no longer able to keep up with the increasing number of people who need their care and services. As well as the increase in numbers, the charity is dealing with more complex and challenging medical conditions and, as a result, the decision was taken to build a larger facility. In 2017, planning permission was given to construct a new state of the art facility on land donated to the charity near Bray Lake. Inpatient rooms will increase from 17 to 28 and there will be more dedicated space to treat outpatients as well as to provide therapeutic and other activities.
This new Thames Hospice will open in 2020, with the £60,000 donation helping towards the building of two dedicated rooms in the £22 million facility. These rooms will be quiet areas for reflection and remembering loved ones as well as offering help and advice to families.
After the presentation ceremony, Debbie Raven gave an outline of how Thames Hospice is developing and some of its future plans. Once the new building is complete, there will be a permanent reminder of the contributions that the Freemasons of the two Provinces have made.
Debbie commented: ‘I cannot thank the Freemasons enough for their generous support towards our new Hospice. The donation comes on top of several others from their charitable funds and the incredible support they have given over many years. It will make a significant difference to our patients and their families.'
Together with Debbie, both Provincial Grand Masters acknowledged the cooperation and support given to this collaborative donation by the MCF and the continuing work they do in supporting the Hospice movement in England and Wales.
Anthony Howlett-Bolton, Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire, said: ‘Working together with our fellow Freemasons in Buckinghamshire and the MCF has allowed us to make a significant contribution to Thames Hospice to help them in the wonderful work they are doing to help families across our counties.’
John Clark, Provincial Grand Master of Buckinghamshire, commented: ‘The Freemasons of Buckinghamshire are delighted to be part of this joint initiative supporting the essential work performed by Thames Hospice. We look forward to establishing a long and fruitful relationship with them.’
In honour of all English Freemasons awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross (VC), the United Grand Lodge of England’s (UGLE) Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, unveiled a unique Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone at Freemasons’ Hall on 27th June 2019
The Remembrance Stone was commissioned in 2016 by Granville Angell to commemorate all English Freemasons who were awarded the Victoria Cross. The VC is the highest award for gallantry that can be conferred on a member of the British Armed Forces and since its introduction in 1856, more than 200 Freemasons have been awarded the Victoria Cross – making up an astonishing 14% of all recipients.
The Remembrance Stone was carved by Emily Draper, who was Worcester Cathedral’s first female Stonemason apprentice, having been sponsored by local Freemasons. During the preparation stage of the stone, Emily also found out that her Great Uncle was a Freemason VC recipient.
The event was opened by Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, followed by readings from Robert Vaughan, Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire (My Boy Jack by Rudyard Kipling) and Brigadier Peter Sharpe, President of the Circuit of Service Lodges (The Soldier by Rupert Chawner Brooke).
Over 130 guests were in attendance including serving military personnel, a group of Chelsea Pensioners and Sea Cadets, as well as Sergeant Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of his unit – Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – while serving in Iraq in 2004. Johnson is also a Freemason and a member of Queensman Lodge No. 2694 in London.
Music was provided by Jon Yates from the Royal Marines Association Concert Band, who performed the ‘Last Post’, a minute’s silence and the ‘Reveille’.
This was proceeded by the grand Unveiling and Dedication of the Remembrance Stone by The Duke of Kent, as a fitting tribute to the service and sacrifice of those Freemasons awarded the VC. The Duke of Kent also presented Emily with a stone carving toolset to aid her future projects.
The event was concluded with a speech by Brigadier Willie Shackell CBE, Past Grand Secretary of UGLE and Past President of the Masonic Samaritan Fund.
Dr David Staples, UGLE’s Chief Executive and Grand Secretary, said: “It’s been a huge honour to mark the dedication of this wonderful Victoria Cross Remembrance Stone and another significant milestone in our longstanding history.
“It is even more remarkable in the context that 14% of all recipients of the Victoria Cross have been Freemasons and I can think of no more fitting home than for it to be placed here at Freemasons’ Hall – a memorial to the thousands of English Freemasons who lost their lives during the Great War.”
Provinces across the country have helped raise in excess of £55,000 for children’s charity Lifelites by taking part in ‘Lift for Lifelites returns’ – a 3,000 mile road trip aimed at raising the charity’s profile, as well as the vital funds it needs to carry out its work
This is the second time the charity have staged this wacky fundraiser which sees its Chief Executive, Simone Enefer-Doy, travel to a landmark in every Province in England, Wales and some of the Crown Dependencies in just 15 days. To reach each of the 48 photoshoots, Simone asked Freemasons in every Province to give her a lift in a weird and wonderful variety of transport, and they didn’t disappoint.
Among her 80 lifts were a genuine Thai Tuk Tuk, a classic Rolls-Royce, a paddle steamer, a wartime motorcycle sidecar, a Lamborghini, no less than three steam trains and an electric tram, to name but a few. Famous sites visited on the trip included the beautiful Bleinheim Palace, the Heights of Abraham, Lake Windermere and the National Space Centre.
Simone said: ‘It was a real whistle stop tour and I’ve been blown away by the incredible generosity of Freemasons across the country; this event wouldn’t have been possible without them. After the success of last year, I couldn’t wait to see what everyone had come up with.
'It was wonderful to meet so many loyal supporters as well as lots of new friends along the way, and great to have the opportunity tell them more about Lifelites and other ways they could help us with our work for local children.’
The challenge has raised over £55,000 to date which will go towards the charity’s work donating and maintaining assistive technology for life-limited and disabled children in children’s hospices across the British Isles.
Simone explained: ‘This technology can be life-changing for these children. It helps them escape the confines of their conditions and do things they never thought possible, even things that we take for granted like playing a game with their brothers and sisters or telling their parents that they love them. We simply couldn’t do what we do without money raised from our supporters and we are very grateful.’
You can read about all the organisations who were involved in the challenge on the Lifelites website here.
A donation of £75,000 from Lincolnshire Freemasons has given a welcome early boost to a relief fund set up in readiness for the rebuilding of homes in and around Wainfleet after the floods
And in a surprise presentation to Steve Hallberg, Provincial Grand Master of Lincolnshire’s Mark Master Masons, the Mark Masons of Cumberland and Westmorland added a further £2,000 to the pot, taking the donation to £77,000.
The fund has been set up by the Lincolnshire Community Foundation, which is bringing together fundraising efforts behind the long-term recovery plan which will swing into action once the floodwaters have receded.
Already there have been about 500 people from a number of agencies working around the clock to provide an emergency response to the incident, which has forced the evacuation of almost 300 homes.
But it’s the recovery phase that will take time, and that’s where the Freemasons’ donation will be directed. Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler said: ‘To see anyone driven from their home by flooding is heartbreaking, especially when it’s in your own community.
‘The emergency response to the incident has been extremely effective through the days after the torrential rainfall followed by the breach of the banks of the River Steeping, but that is only part of the story. The recovery phase will be long, and will take considerable effort.
‘I’m pleased that we have been able to move so quickly in making this donation of £75,000. It underlines that Lincolnshire Freemasons are determined to help put the heart back into this part of Lincolnshire, and we have every confidence that the Lincolnshire Community Foundation will make sure the money is used effectively in making that happen.’
The donation is made up of three Masonic grants of £25,000 each, from The Province of Lincolnshire, the Mark Benevolent Fund, and the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The latter two are national charities subscribed to by Freemasons all over the country, including those in Lincolnshire.
James Murphy, Joint CEO of the Lincolnshire Community Foundation, said: ‘There are lots of people for whom properties in Wainfleet are their "forever home". We shall be doing what we can to return things to normal for this community. It’s when something like this happens that you find out how good a community is, and Wainfleet’s is particularly strong.
‘The Lincolnshire Community Foundation is working in partnership with the Recovery Coordinating Group to raise funds and support Wainfleet and the surrounding area. Money donated will help to relieve hardship, complete repairs, make good loss or damage, help to prevent the flooding happening again, and to improve the response in the event that it ever does. 100% of donations will be spent in and around Wainfleet.’
To donate online, please go to the Total Giving page at this link.
For over 30 years, Warwickshire Freemasons have been making annual donations in support of non-masonic charities who provide health and support to some of the most vulnerable adults and children in Warwickshire
In 2019, the Provincial Grand Master David Macey approved donations to 138 charities totalling £148,500. David met with 29 of these charities at the Tally Ho Conference and Banqueting Centre in Birmingham to personally present them with their cheques.
The High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Clare Sawdon, thanked the Provincial Grand Master and all the Freemasons of Warwickshire for their tremendous generosity which enables local charities to support the most vulnerable people in their local communities.
The donations were split across a number of categories to ensure that they make a difference across a wide range of organisations needing support. The largest being hospitals, hospices and rescue services with £5,000 each going to Acorns Children’s Hospice, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Myton Hospice and both of the region’s Air Ambulances.
Community and Education projects received a total of £25,500, going to charities ranging from specialist education to domestic violence and crisis centres.
Read the full list of recipients here.