Festival target smashed by £1m
West Kent’s Festival for the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF) has exceeded its target by more than £1 million, with the grand total of £3,253,148 announced in the presence of Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, MSF President Willie Shackell and MSF CEO Richard Douglas at Freemasons’ Hall in London.
Shackell outlined some of the MSF’s projects, while Spence congratulated Provincial Grand Master Jonathan Winpenny for such a successful result. The PGM told the Province, ‘Your generosity has touched and changed so many lives. Be very proud of what has been done by the whole of the Province.’
Sheffield’s family focus
The RMTGB’s Stepping Stones scheme has awarded grants totalling more than £260,000 to 12 charities, including Home-Start Sheffield, a regional branch of a national network of family support charities. Home-Start’s 110 volunteers provide practical and emotional help to 800 vulnerable parents and children each year.
Families receive parenting advice and skills training to strengthen relationships and the care that they provide for their children, helping to break cycles of disadvantage. Stepping Stones awarded Home-Start Sheffield a grant of £24,873 over two years to part-fund the new ‘Parents and Children Together’ project, which will provide more intensive parental support for 90 disadvantaged families to increase their children’s school readiness.
Sea cadet support in Jersey
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Jersey has donated £10,000 to the Jersey Sea Cadets to fund staff training as well as the purchase of items such as kayaks, archery and diving apparatus, and IT equipment. Provincial Grand Master Ken Rondel said, ‘The core values our two organisations share are so similar, it is an honour to be able to assist the Sea Cadet Corps in their valuable work.’
A nationwide maritime youth organisation, the Sea Cadets gives young people aged 10 to 18 opportunities for personal development, through learning new skills – such as sailing and rock climbing – challenging themselves and working in teams. Those aged 13 to 18 may also join the Royal Marines Cadets.
Turning the tables
When researcher Maxine Gilhuys Notarbartolo from Florence attended the 2014 symposium to celebrate the Union of the two rival Grand Lodges in 1813, she noticed a marble table in the Leicestershire and Rutland Masonic Library and Museum. She returned to Leicester in 2015 to give an illustrated address on the history of the table, showing how it is not of Florentine origin; rather, its roots lie in the pietre dure tradition, which was imported into Malta from the Italian mainland by the Knights of St John.
Jayson on a roll for world record
A drummer beat the world record for the longest single drum roll – but ended up in hospital as a result. Jayson Brinkler started the roll at 3am and played for 12 hours, five minutes and five seconds – despite injuring his wrist just days before. The eight-time British champion drummer smashed the previous record by five minutes and two seconds to see him achieve his childhood dream of securing an individual place in the Guinness World Records.
Jayson, 44, who was raising money for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, performed the drum roll at Highfield Baptist Church in Dartford.
He has previously performed on children’s TV show Blue Peter and at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Father inspires marathon effort in Paris
A Freemason’s son was inspired to take on the 26-mile Paris Marathon by his father’s dedication to supporting the Masonic Samaritan Fund (MSF). Elliot Mason’s father, Robert, is a Metropolitan Grand Lodge Freemason from Perfect Ashlar Lodge, No. 1178. Elliot said,
‘I came to support the MSF through my dad, who is incredibly passionate about the work the charity does.’
New university recruits in Bucks
The Universities Scheme is well underway in Buckinghamshire with Marlow Lodge, No. 2752, joining Grenville Lodge, No. 1787, in the recruitment of graduates and students. At its first meeting under the scheme, Marlow Lodge initiated graduate Jed Russell (23), and students Mohammad Malik (19) and Nathan Kapoor (24) from Buckinghamshire New University, which is based at High Wycombe.
Hospice gets Parisian boost
Four members of St Augustine’s Lodge, No. 3713, and Redditch Rugby Club set off on a bike ride from the club to Paris with five friends to raise funds for the Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust. The four-day trip covered 320 miles, with the cyclists resting at 20- to 30-mile intervals. Around £5,000 was raised for the charity, which provides care for life-threatened and terminally ill children and their families in the Midlands.
Blackpool’s big charity night
Blackpool Group of Lodges and Chapters staged its annual Charity Giving Night at the masonic hall, distributing more than £34,000 to 55 local and national charities. Pete Mercer of the Fylde Coast Carers Centre, one of the recipients, said, ‘It is a phenomenal sum and an aspect of Freemasonry that goes unrecognised by the majority of the general public.’
All the money was raised from donations by lodges and chapters within the Blackpool Group and from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Among the beneficiaries were Trinity Hospice and its children’s wing Brian House, which received £6,848; North West Air Ambulance, receiving £3,825; and Blackpool Victoria Hospital, with £2,675.
More than £1m for West Wales
The Province of West Wales has raised £1,079,614 in its Festival for the Grand Charity, which was announced at an event in Llanelli attended by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes. Among other guests were President of the Grand Charity Richard Hone, Chief Executive Laura Chapman and Provincial Grand Master Stephen Hookey, who said: ‘The appeal was launched in May 2009 at a time when the global recession had taken hold and austerity was to become a watchword for several years to come. Thanks to your generosity in these difficult times, the figure for which we aimed has been surpassed significantly.’