Local communities are set to benefit following a surprise £50,000 donation to Brecon Hospital from Brecon Freemasons, in the Province of South Wales
The generous donation was made at the Brecon Freemasons’ Festive Board, which took place at the Castle Hotel in Brecon, to mark 300 years since the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge.
Professor Vivienne Harpwood, Chair of Powys Teaching Health Board, receiving the donation on behalf of the hospital, said: 'I am so grateful and humbled by this generous donation from Brecon Freemasons. We knew in advance that the Freemasons wished to make a donation to Brecon War Memorial Hospital, but the size of the donation was very much under wraps until the cheque was presented to us.
'This will make an amazing difference, and we look forward to working with the Brecon Freemasons to use this donation for the benefit of local communities.'
Graham Richards, Charity Steward of Brecknock Lodge No. 651, presented the cheque saying: 'The highlight of our Tercentenary celebrations was the presentation of a cheque for £50,000 for the benefit of the Brecon War Memorial Hospital in appreciation and a recognition of the services and care given to Freemasons and their families and indeed to the whole community of Brecon & District.'
The Tercentenary has been an opportunity for fundraising and charitable works across the UK. John Ingham, Worshipful Master of the Brecknock Lodge, said: 'The first lodge in the UK was established in 1717, and here in Brecon our first recorded meeting was in 1764 with the Brecknock Lodge meeting in its current form since 1855. What better way to mark this momentous occasion than by upholding one of the main tenets of our organisation, the support of charity.
'Over £70,000 was donated to good causes and I would like to thank all Lodge members for their support.'
- The Salvation Army Homeless Christmas Appeal
- Feed the Homeless Cardiff
- Feed the Homeless Swansea
- St John Ambulance Brecon
- Macmillan (Mid Wales)
- Usk House Brecon
- Brecon Mountain Rescue
- Brecon Scouts
- Brecon Guides
- The Mark 150th Anniversary 2020 Appeal
- The 2021 Craft Festival Appeal
- TLC Teddies for Loving Care Appeal
- Albert Edward Prince of Wales Court Dementia Support
- Noahs Ark Appeal
- Lotus Orphanage Appeal in Sri Lanka
The Tercentenary of the United Grand Lodge of England coincided with the end of the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Wales 2017 Festival Appeal, with two major events held in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys
Recognising the unique opportunity that these two milestones presented to involve and interact with the public, they organised events in July and September this year.
A gloriously sunny 1st July saw the Tercentenary being recognised with a hugely successful ‘Big Party’ in the extensive grounds of Queen Elizabeth Court RMBI Care Home in Llandudno. Attracting over 1,400 attendees, including many young families from the local community, the day was a festival of live music, charity and market stalls, games of skill, fun fair rides, circus performers, circus workshops and craft demonstrations all supported by the Goose & Gridiron licensed bar and catering outlets.
A number of national charities that have benefited over the years from funding by the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) were present, giving the public a real insight into the way in which Freemasons have an impact on their local communities.
Visitors were astounded to see a secretly planned landing by a Wales Air Ambulance helicopter on the adjoining school field. Children, in particular, stood in awe as the big red helicopter settled no more than 100 metres from them. Provincial Grand Master Ieuan Redvers Jones, accompanied by the MCF's Chief Operating Officer Les Hutchison, presented a cheque for £4,000 to the helicopter pilot on the big stage.
All proceeds from the day, which amounted to over £21,000, were donated to the Friends of Queen Elizabeth Court to be used for the benefit of the elderly residents.
Following hot on the heels of the Big Party success, a spectacular Welsh flavoured Festival Gala was held at Venue Cymru, a modern theatre complex in Llandudno, on 9th September, during which the Province revealed the total raised by North Wales brethren for their 2017 Festival Appeal in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
In the presence of the Assistant Grand Master Sir David Wootton and the Provincial Grand Master for North Wales Ieaun Redvers Jones, members and the public alike watched as short video clips highlighting charitable credentials were tantalizingly shown between acts until, nearing the finale, the stage screen lit up to reveal that the target set at £2.75million had been exceeded by a considerable amount – reaching £3.1 million!
This total raised represented an impressive achievement by the North Wales Freemasons, upon which they were enthusiastically congratulated during the formal addresses. Les Hutchison confirmed that the amount raised represented the second highest total raised per capita for any Festival Appeal.
Throughout the evening, the audience was treated to a spectacular and inspiring mixture of modern and traditional Welsh music and song by artists of local, national and international repute, which provided a most fitting tribute to the brethren of North Wales who have worked tirelessly to achieve such a magnificent Festival Appeal total.
A grant of £4,000 to the Wales Air Ambulance from South Wales Freemasons has brought the total Masonic support given to air ambulances across the country to almost £4 million since 2007
Wales Air Ambulance operates right across Wales, covering over 8,000 square miles of remote countryside, bustling towns and cities, vast mountain ranges and 800 miles of coastline.
The grant, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, is funded by Freemasons and their families from across England and Wales. During 2017, Freemasons from around the country will be presenting 20 regional air ambulances with grants totalling £180,000.
Catrin Hall from Wales Air Ambulance said: ‘We are very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their continuing generosity.
'Without support like this the Air Ambulance would not be able to carry on flying and our life-saving work could not continue.’
Roy Woodward, Deputy Grand Master from South Wales Freemasons, recently visited Wales Air Ambulance, accompanied by John Davies, Freemasons Charity Officer. He said: ‘We are proud to be able to support the Wales Air Ambulance. Thanks to the tireless efforts of their doctors and aircrew, many lives of local people are saved every year.’
Wales Air Ambulance relies entirely on charitable grants and donations. To make a donation, please click here.
Cliff Hotel comes to the rescue
It was a crisis situation when, the night before the installation meeting of Teifi Lodge, No. 4648, in Cardigan, the masonic hall was struck by lightning, requiring structural repairs. Moreover, it was the lodge’s 90th anniversary, West Wales Provincial Grand Master Stephen Hookey was attending, and Master Elect David Elliot was to be installed by his father Graham.
The Cliff Hotel in Gwbert, already scheduled to host the Festive Board, came to the rescue and the meeting was held there. Stephen Hookey presented a Grand Charity cheque for £4,000 to Tony Key OBE, Pembrokeshire Coordinator for Wales Air Ambulance, and received a cheque for £10,000 from Teifi Lodge towards the West Wales 2015 Festival for the Grand Charity.
Over £18,000 has been donated to local charities and good causes by Monmouthshire Freemasons
All the recipients were very pleased with the donations and many were expecting much smaller sums than they actually received which was a very pleasant surprise for them.
It was truly humbling to see the dedication and emotion from so many hardworking people, all for the benefit of others.
There were several touching moments throughout the evening. India Lane and Abbey Morgan gave a well rehearsed response on behalf of the 1st Bulwark Brownies. Sara Eales, the chair of Jacobs Starz, a charity set up in memory of her son. And Ieuan Coombes, a sufferer of cerebral palsy who walked through the temple to receive just over £500 for the Sparkle Appeal.
The Provincial Grand Master RW Bro the Rev Malcolm Lane mentioned in his summing up how impressed he was with all those who do so much 'for humanity'. All funds donated were raised by Monmouthshire masons.