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The distinguishing characteristic of a Freemason’s heart…….

…….… is of course charity, and charitable donations by Somerset Freemasons since 2006 are now well above £6 million!

Throughout 2020, and especially during the Covid emergency, Somerset Freemasons have been digging deeper than ever. As well as donating over £175,000 to support local & national covid responses, they have also contributed to their 2020 Festival and supported a wide range of non-Masonic charities and good causes. 

Somerset Freemasons’ rapid response to the covid emergency recognised that even with the furlough scheme, many families would be suffering financially, more than ever with children now at home as well.  So, Brethren focussed on foodbanks and meal production facilities, donating over £61,000 for these across the Province, as well as utilising Halls’ own catering resources and actually delivering meals.  Additional financial assistance included a women’s refuge, iPads to local care homes and materials for a local school who were utilising their 3D printer to support the emergency. Almoners too were busy – the financial and social impact of Covid was felt within Masonic families as well.    

W.Bro David Maddern’s Fire-Walk

As well as the 2020 Festival, Province was In Festival for the RMBI in 2007 and raised £2.575m towards that Masonic charity.   

Donations to non-masonic charities continued apace as well.  On top of the £61,000 covid support for foodbanks and community meal schemes, more than £114,000 was donated across the Province to over 120 charities, ranging from the larger national and international charities such as The Royal British Legion, down to local village halls and schools. This year, 60 new charities who had not received support from the Province before were assisted, including charities supporting military veterans, research into Motor Neurone and community dial-a-rides 

The Province has been keeping a note of the non-masonic donations since 2006.  To date, 2,922 donations have been made to 787 charities and good causes, totalling £1,443,104 !  Again, donations range across the large national and international charities to small local causes.  Beneficiaries include uniformed youth groups and individuals, Christmas Lunch schemes, local hospitals and hospices, charities conducting research into a range of medical issues, lifeboats / rescue boats, and international earthquake and hurricane assistance.

The Brethren of the Province of Somerset have been donating with enthusiasm for many years now, amply fulfilling their commitment to the distinguishing characteristic of a Freemason’s heart.  W Bro Graham Puddy, the incoming Provincial Grand Charity Steward, said “The generosity of Freemasons in Somerset over a sustained period of time can be an immense source of pride for us all.  Not only have members of the Province continued to donate substantial amounts of money, there has been a significant amount of time spent in our local communities providing practical support. I look forward to us all continuing to work together for the enhancement of our membership and communities.”

W.Bro Norman Hucker’s Wing-Walk

In 2020, the Provincial Festival in aid of The Freemasons Grand Charity (the last one to do so, as it no longer exists as a separate entity) reached its conclusion with donations totalling £2.776m, 99.1% of the target.  That total equates to £791 per masonic head, well above an historic average across the country of £720 per head.   Fundraisers for the Festival included a fire-walk and a wing-walk! Despite covid restrictions meaning that very few Lodge meetings took place, in 2020 Lodges were able to donate £198,000 to the overall total. 

Article by W.Bro Charlie Barker. Assistant Provincial Charity Steward.

Posted by Andy Baird. PGLS ACO SW.

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