Dorset Freemasons and the Dorset Masonic Charity have come together to donate £9,300 to Portland Sea Cadets

The donation, from individual lodges across the south of the county and topped up by Dorset Masonic Care (DMC), has been used to buy two new sailing dinghies. The was raised by Freemasons in events throughout the year and funds left in bequests and gifts to the DMC.

Portland Sea Cadets give young people an experience that helps them grow into the person they want to be in a safe and friendly environment. Through various activities and adventures, they learn teamwork, respect, loyalty, self-confidence, commitment, self-discipline, honesty and how to be the best version of themselves. 

Mark Burstow, Communication Officer of Dorset Freemasonry, said: ‘These values, demonstrated by this wonderful organisation at Portland mirror the life journey we take as Freemasons and seeing this in action with the Cadets is an inspiration.’

Phil Coxall, a Trustee of Dorset Masonic Care (DMC), took the helm of one of the dinghies during their launch evening and afterward said: ‘At DMC we love to support Non-Masonic Causes and in the last year alone, we have given more than £10,000 to local causes.  It was pleasure for us to partner with South Dorset Freemasons, topping up their £5,700 donation so the Cadets could buy two dinghies.’

Commanding Officer Lt (SCC) Rachel Harris RNR of the Portland Sea Cadets said she was very grateful for the support of Dorset Freemasons and these new dinghies will greatly help the Portland Sea Cadets continue their work for the benefit of local young people.

Dorset Masonic Care is also keen to contribute more widely to local good causes and to find out more email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Health equipment in the community

The Province of Dorset has completed its programme of installing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on the outside of masonic buildings across the county, as part of a series of presentations to the local community to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Units have been fitted to 17 masonic halls and are available to any member of the public in an emergency. The funding came from Dorset Masonic Care (DMC) and The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, providing £32,500 and £5,000 respectively. 

The units are located in locked, vandal-proof metal cabinets, which can be opened by calling 999 to obtain the access code. The control centre is then able to record when and where a unit has been used. 

Dorset's bighearted lifesaving initiative

On Wednesday 18th July, the official unveiling of the first of the planned 17 automated external defibrillators (AED’s) to be provided outside each of the 17 masonic meeting halls throughout Dorset over the next two months, took place at the Masonic Hall in Howard’s Lane, Wareham.

With a valued contribution from the Grand Charity, and substantially through the auspices of the Province of Dorset’s own charity Dorset Masonic Care, and in conjunction with Arrhythmia Alliance, Dorset has now financed the purchase and installation of these publicly available and easily accessible life-saving pieces of equipment in commemoration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and as part of their Freemasonry in the Community initiative.

Pictured here with the Mayor of Wareham, Councillor Keith Green, at the official unveiling of the AED outside the Wareham Masonic Hall, the Provincial Grand Master for Dorset, RW Bro Richard Merritt, said 'We are very conscious of the fact that we are providing a facility for our local communities which, in a bizarre way, we would hope would never need to be used'.

'They can and do, however, save lives, and should the need ever arise it is our profound hope that this equipment will do just that'. After the official unveiling, speaking on behalf of the people of Wareham, the Mayor said 'We are indebted to the Freemasons of Dorset for providing this equipment and I have great pleasure in declaring this facility open and readily available to the people of Wareham'.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) strikes without warning, killing 100,000 people in the UK every year – that’s 250 people a day. In the UK, less than 5% of victims survive SCA out of hospital and it kills more people than lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. SCA can happen to anyone, regardless of age or fitness. SCA could happen in a shopping centre, on a football field, whilst out walking the dog; it can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. Combined with CPR, defibrillation is the only effective treatment.

The 40 or so guests at the launch held in the masonic meeting room - which included the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Vera Green, the Town Clerk, Mr Rod Curtis, a number of Council dignitaries, Dorset Masonic Care executive members and local Freemasons and their wives - heard a very informative talk accompanied with video presentations from Peter Wray-Cook, Clinical Support Officer with the NHS, SW Ambulance Service. He stressed the need for the public to 'have a go' in the event that someone needs urgent, first intervention before the emergency service arrived on the scene.

'Every minute is vital and the use of this equipment, which gives clear verbal instructions through its built-in, fully automated monitoring system, actually talks the user through the vital CPR [chest compressions] and advises when and if and how to apply a shock to the patient’s heart, providing the emergency services with a huge advantage and far greater chance of saving a life when we arrive on the scene'.

This installation, now fully operational, requires a 999 call to be made to access the equipment. It is to be rapidly followed by similar installations at the masonic halls in Beaminster, Blandford, Branksome, Bridport, Dorchester, Gillingham, Kinson, Lyme Regis, Poole, Portland, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Sturminster Newton, Swanage, Weymouth and Wimborne.

Speaking on behalf of Arrhythmia Alliance, Trudie Lobban said, 'This is the largest single donation of this life-saving equipment by any organisation in the UK'.

'The extremely generous donation to A-A made by the Freemasons of Dorset will ensure life-saving equipment is available in the Dorset area'.

'In the event of an SCA the first few minutes are vital – for every minute without defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 10%. With all the best intentions, it is often impossible for emergency services to reach a patient within the required timeframe (due to location, distance and/or traffic congestion). It is paramount that emergency life-saving equipment is made available and accessible for public use until emergency services arrive on scene'.

Bournemouth mayor Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts said: ‘We are truly indebted to the Freemasons of Dorset for this magnificent gift to the local community.’

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