Telling the world
While the role of Freemasons in raising funds for worthy causes is crucial, the Grand Charity believes it is also important to publicise its work to a wider audience
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity works hard to raise awareness of the generosity of masons. In recent years it has seen an increase in the number of publicity mentions it has received and was included more than six hundred times in the regional press (newspapers, online media and radio) and charity websites/publications last year.
This level of coverage is made possible by the Grand Charity working closely with Provincial and Metropolitan Information and Communication Officers, who are responsible for gaining a great deal of recognition for the charity’s work in regional press.
For example, news of the Grand Charity’s support for air ambulances was publicised more than one hundred and forty times, featuring on ITV news online and several radio stations. The hospices programme also received frequent recognition, with more than one hundred mentions in regional press.
The Grand Charity also works closely with the charities it funds, many of which show their thanks through public recognition. The £50,000 donation to Help for Heroes in 2012, to fund therapeutic gardens at a recovery centre for wounded service personnel, was highlighted on BBC radio. In addition, a plaque acknowledging the support of Freemasons was placed in the gardens upon completion.
Many other charities include messages of thanks to Freemasons for their support in their own charity publications, websites, press releases and social media. News of the Grand Charity’s grant to Cancer Research UK last year received more than one thousand ‘likes’ on its Facebook page.
In the news
During 2013, the Grand Charity has spent time promoting its Masonic Relief Grants programme to a wider audience. The charity has been working with Mark Smith, Provincial Grand Almoner of Gloucestershire, to raise awareness of the valuable community service Almoners carry out by providing help, guidance and pastoral support in often very difficult and challenging circumstances.
Mark was interviewed live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire about the work of the Almoner and the support given by the central masonic charities. Mark spoke eloquently about his role and how Freemasonry provides a wide range of support for people in need and that ultimately this is of great benefit to society as a whole.
The Grand Charity would like to thank Mark for his help in publicising the work of the central masonic charities and, most importantly, for highlighting the work carried out by Almoners across England and Wales. The role of lodge Almoner is voluntary and one that requires a great deal of dedication – without their commitment it would be impossible for the Grand Charity to assist the thousands of people it helps each year.
Other highlights for the Grand Charity have included recognition of its work by The Guardian online in an interview with Jackie Bailey, head of outreach at the Spinal Injuries Association, and also during an interview on BBC Radio Manchester with Ben Fewtrell, a family support worker at the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity. Both Jackie and Ben’s roles are largely funded by The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which was acknowledged.
It was tremendous to hear the news of the new Royal baby, Prince George. You will be glad that a message of congratulations was sent on behalf of members to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Talking of good news, it is heart-warming to hear, as I go around the Provinces and Districts, more and more members speaking openly about the fun of membership as they enjoy, each in their own special way, their hobby, Freemasonry. This enjoyment is becoming infectious, helping to both recruit and, importantly, retain members. Together with the increasing support from family members, this is a clear reflection of the success of the current initiatives that are making sure there is a relevant future for Freemasonry.
In this autumn issue, we take a ride with the Showmen’s Lodge to discover that the ties binding Freemasons can also be found in the people who run the waltzers and dodgems at the fairground. We go on the road with a welfare adviser from the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, as she helps a family get back on its feet. We also meet Mark Smith, a Provincial Grand Almoner, and find out that while masonic support can involve making a donation to a worthy cause, it is also about spending time with people in your community.
I mentioned hobbies earlier, and to thrill anyone with a taste for classic cars we get in the driving seat with Aston Martin as it celebrates its one hundredth birthday at Freemasons’ Hall. There is also an interview with Prestonian Lecturer Tony Harvey, who has been travelling around the UK to explain how Freemasonry and Scouting have more in common than you might first think. I believe that these stories and features show why Freemasonry not only helps society but is also very much a part of it.
On a final note, I was pleased to have had the opportunity to speak on Radio 4’s Last Word obituary programme about the late Michael Baigent, our consultant editor. He was a good friend with an enormously inquisitive mind, about which John Hamill writes more fully later in this issue of Freemasonry Today.
‘It is heart-warming to hear, as I go around the Provinces and Districts, more and more members speaking openly about the fun of membership.’
The Association of Medical, University and Legal Lodges (AMULL) celebrated its 12th annual festival at Lincoln’s Inn in London, in the presence of Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, his wife Almudena and Metropolitan Grand Master Russell Race.
This year’s host was the Chancery Bar Lodge, No. 2456, whose meetings are held in Lincoln’s Inn. The day included a lecture: ‘For Valour – The Victoria Cross’, by Mark Smith. An ecumenical service was held in Lincoln’s Inn Chapel, led by the Reverend Alan Gyle, with the address by the Venerable Peter Delaney. This year’s AMULL bursaries went to Michael Mather (Universities Lodge, No. 2352, Durham) and Daniel Glover (University Lodge of Liverpool, No. 4274).