Somerset Freemasons have raised through donations from their members the incredible sum of £25,000 – all in less than 7 weeks! The announcement came on June 10th, which would have been the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100 birthday
Ben Batley, deputy head of the Freemasons in Somerset said: 'I am honoured on behalf of all the members of the 89 Lodges that represent Somerset Freemasons to announce a donation in excess of £25,000 has been raised to allow for disadvantaged participants to take part in the DoE Award Scheme across the County over the next few years.
'It is a Bursary Fund in memory of HRH The Prince Philip who would have achieved his 100th birthday recently. The donation should support around 250 young people in their own personal development of key life skills. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this special fund through donations that come from direct giving by members alone.'
Upon hearing of the donation The Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw said: 'I am delighted and proud of the donation which the Somerset Freemasons have made to the Somerset Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Bursary Fund. What better way could there be to commemorate a fine man on the centenary of his birth, than this. Without doubt many young people will benefit from this act of generosity so that, in the future, young people from a wider sphere will gain the pleasure, the adventure and, ultimately, the life enhancing experience of participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s marvelous and visionary scheme.'
HRH Prince Philip, himself a Freemason for 69 years started the DofE Award Scheme in 1956, since then over 6 million young people have taken part. The valuable skills that they learn help them to develop and succeed in life. Over the course of the pandemic, Somerset Freemasons have donated over £200,000 to help local communities with projects as diverse as food banks, PPE manufacture, women’s refuge, tablet PC’s to local hospitals, and the BANES Homeless Project to name but a few.
Nationally, the Freemasons, in partnership with the Masonic Charitable Foundation, the Freemasons' charity have also become a strategic partner with The Duke of Edinburgh Award, donating a further £300,000 to provide access to 30,000 special educational needs and disabled participants across the country by 2024.