Dozens of local charities and good causes were presented with cheques totalling just under £30,000 by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Freemasons
Lodges that meet in Lymington, New Milton, Ringwood and Brockenhurst raised the money throughout the year. It is on top of their regular donations and is designed to boost those in the community who do such valuable work.
The Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Mike Wilks, attended with his wife Kay. Also at the event held at the masonic centre in the high street were Mike Wilks’ assistant Leon Whitfield and Cllr David Rice-Mundy, Mayor of New Milton, Cllr Anne Corbridge, Mayor of Lymington and Cllr Tony Ring, Mayor of Ringwood.
The Freemasonry in the community event is designed not only to give the donations but for representatives of the organisations receiving the money to explain who they are and what they do.
Andrew Ferguson was the organiser of the evening, and on behalf of Freemasonry in the community he welcomed all those present – well over 100 - and acted as MC for the evening.
Money totalling £29,473 was presented to 44 local charities and good causes, which was 10 more than last year.
Andrew said: ‘It’s amazing how much money is raised by the local lodges and how many small charities benefit as a result. Each year I am humbled by hearing about the work these lesser known charities carry out. Freemasonry has always been about giving and we are proud to continue the tradition of helping within the local community.’
Mike Wilks said: ‘It is always enlightening to meet those who work within our communities and hear what their charities and good causes do.
‘Our members are committed to charity and it is important for us as Freemasons to help our local areas. In the South West area of the province we have centres in Bournemouth and Christchurch and they will be holding their own, similar event.’
Those receiving donations included the Friends of Lymington Scanner Appeal, New Forest Young Carers, Macmillan Caring Locally, The Acorns Project and Cruise Bereavement Care.