With just over three weeks before his Installation as the new Provincial Grand Master for Essex, at Freemasons’ Hall in London on 9th September 2021, Paul Tarrant gave the closing address to charity representatives of the 300 plus lodges in Essex at the Provincial Charity Stewards Conference held at the Southend Masonic Centre and online on Saturday 14th August 2021
Masonic Provinces in England and Wales raise vital funding for one of the UK’s largest charities, the Masonic Charitable Foundation,the Freemasons' charity, through appeals called Festivals, which normally last for five years. The Essex 2022 Festival ends in seven months time. The initial target was £5 million but, after receiving a large legacy, was increased to £6 million before Covid 19 struck and decimated the fundraising of the 9,000 Freemasons in the County. 'We can all see it has been a rough year,' said Paul Tarrant.
The conference was informed that the total raised so far in Essex was £4.3 million. With the lifting of restrictions, Lodges are meeting again so £5 million appears feasible. Delegates heard how the MCF has been coping over the past year and how each individual Lodge Relief Chest scheme is embracing technology as well as the changes and innovations in methods of donating with a big move to online giving.
Freemasons have committed over £7 million to the work of national charities based in Essex as well as local charities and good causes with 95% of the favourable press coverage about Essex Freemasons being charity based.
There is no doubt that as the Freemasons in Essex resume meeting in their lodges once again, that there will be a considerable amount of fundraising activity among their members, particularly over the next seven months. On closing the conference, Paul Tarrant said: 'The finishing line is in sight.'
Charities, good causes and readers throughout Essex will all be watching carefully and wishing them every success whilst asking the question: 'but will it be for £5 million or £6 million?'