The United Grand Lodge of England has a system whereby each of the four national masonic charities (see Masonic Charity) has an annual festival where they are supported, on a rotational basis, by one of the masonic provinces. Each province supports a Festival once in every ten or twelve years.
The 2014 Festival was launched in East Kent on 26 September 2008 with a target of raising £3,000,000 in support of The Freemasons’ Grand Charity. At the Closing Dinner on 28 June 2014 to mark the end of the appeal, it was announced that the Freemasons of East Kent had raised a grand total of £3.65 million, exceeding the target by £650,000.
This fantastic achievement has been published by the Daily Mail online with a reach of 1.9 million people.
Well done to all the Brethren and Companions of East Kent for such a magnificent effort during difficult economic times. This appeal coincided with a severe recession and it is remarkable that so much could be achieved against those odds.
It is all the more remarkable that, in addition to this magnificent total, East Kent Royal Arch Masons raised over £40,000 towards the 2013 Bicentenary Appeal for the Royal College of Surgeons.
Furthermore, East Kent Freemasons donate significant sums to local non-Masonic charities and other good causes each year. In 2013 this amounted to £171,000. Read More.
During these difficult economic times the Freemasons’ Grand Charity has ever more calls on its funds and a grand total of £6.6 million was given in 2013 to support people in need. This total included a number of Brethren or their dependents in distressed financial circumstances. In 2013, thirty six East Kent petitioners received some £65,800 in Masonic Relief Grants from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, thereby helping to relieve pressure on the benefits agencies.
Of course the Freemasons’ Grand Charity also supports non-Masonic charities on a most impressive scale. In 2013 a total of £2.4 million was given to the wider community, including, to name but a few:-
- £150,000 to the Institute of Cancer Research to help fund research into personalised cancer treatments,
- £192,000 to the air ambulance services in England and Wales,
- £600,000 to hospice services
- £93,000 in emergency grants for disaster relief (flooding in North Wales, India and the typhoon in the Philippines)
When announcing the grand total, the Festival President, RW Bro Geoffrey Dearing, said: “The Freemasons of East Kent were privileged to support the Freemasons’ Grand Charity which does so much for people less fortunate than ourselves.”
The President of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, VW Bro Richard Hone, QC, summed up his response to the result by saying: “Wow!” He went on to name and thank many people who had helped to steer the appeal to its successful conclusion.
The Guest of Honour, RW Bro Jonathan Spence, Deputy Grand Master, reminded those present that his Mother Province was East Kent but that he was now ‘exiled’ in Cambridgeshire. He was clearly proud of the province’s achievement and went on to say: “The total raised represented £560 from each East Kent Freemason; an astonishingly high per-capita total.”
Click here for a full report of the Festival Closing Dinner.
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Updated June 2014