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Eye disorder charity Fight for Sight given nearly £100k by Masonic Samaritan Fund

Friday, 06 March 2015

Fight for sight

A grant funded entirely through donations made by Freemasons and their families will aid pioneering research that could restore sight

The Masonic Samaritan Fund has provided a grant of £91,500 to eye disorder charity Fight for Sight. This will fund pioneering research that could restore vision for thousands of patients affected by degenerative eye conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The grant will support research for three years at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, which is investigating ways to restore the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye that are lost in conditions such as AMD and inherited retinal diseases. The research explores advances in stem-cell replacement therapy, in which photoreceptors at an early stage of development are transplanted into a degenerating retina.

Dr Dolores Conroy, director of research at Fight for Sight, thanked Freemasons for contributing such a generous amount. ‘Sight is the sense people fear losing the most. It’s an exciting time for eye research and we are delighted to be the UK charity leading the way.’

John McCrohan, MSF Grants Director, added, ‘Each year, we provide grants totalling £100,000 to people affected by eye conditions such as macular degeneration and retinal disease. This project gives us the opportunity to fund cutting-edge research with the power to develop truly effective treatments and ultimately preserve the sight of millions. It’s a valuable cause that Freemasons and their families are delighted to support.’ 

Twenty-five years of dedication

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Masonic Samaritan Fund. Established in 1990 with the working title of New Masonic Samaritan Fund, it continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of eligible beneficiaries.

Over the years, the Fund has benefited from careful stewardship by trustees who gave freely of their time and experience. A similarly dedicated staff team have ensured that its original ethos remains as strong as ever. 

In its two and a half decades, the Fund has awarded 17,700 grants totalling more than £64 million on behalf of over 11,500 individuals. This remarkable achievement has only been possible due to the hard work and dedication of all those who have so generously supported the Fund, enabling it to help those in need. On behalf of the trustees, staff and, more importantly, beneficiaries, the MSF offers its sincere thanks.