Page 4 - Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Newsletters
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Festival President’s toast to the RMTGB and the Masonic Charitable Foundation
Assistant Grand Master, Deputy Lieutenants of Hampshire, Deputy Lieutenant of the Isle
of Wight, Mayor and Mayoress of Bournemouth, Leader of the New Forest Council, Ladies, Gentlemen and Brethren.
1. I know that we are all looking forward to learning the amount raised during our Festival Appeal which has been running for the past 6 years. Of course, one or two here do know the amount; but I made it clear a year ago that I did not want to know the amount until it was revealed at this special event. So we all have to wait a little longer, and as we wait, it is perhaps appropriate for us to reflect on those 6 years which commenced on 7th July 2010 when I was invested as Provincial Grand Master.
2. On the day of my Investiture, I launched this Appeal for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (to which I will refer as the Trust). My predecessor R W Bro Brian Bellinger had helpfully laid solid foundations and so on 7th July 2010 we started to build.
3. We began with a brochure detailing the charitable work of the Trust which was circulated to all members of the Province by post to their homes. We used the strapline “Help Make a Child Smile” which epitomises the work of the Trust. Brethren were encouraged to make regular donations by way of Gift Aid so that their giving could be maximised by tax recovery. It is worth reminding ourselves this evening that all monies raised have been donated by Freemasons and their families from their own pockets. We do not raise funds from outside the Craft.
4. So, does that mean that all Freemasons have deep pockets? It most certainly does not. The reality is that we have a significant number of elderly members who are on fixed incomes. At the other end of the scale, we have University Scheme Lodges initiating students. Our members come from all walks of life. The question inevitably arises, how can Freemasons raise and donate so much money from their own resources. The answer is quite simple. Freemasons care. Caring is the basis of all that we do. Our ritual takes us on a journey which encourages us to think of others particularly those less fortunate and to provide help and assistance where we can. The Trust is concerned with assisting children who are in need and Freemasons instinctively want to help and support.
5. Each brother, whatever his personal situation, will do what he can. A small amount each week soon accumulates into a meaningful sum – and as we have over 9000 brethren in this Province, that is a lot of meaningful sums! We decided not to set a target for the Appeal preferring to give an indication of what we hoped Lodges might be able to achieve during the 6-year period. We set Lodge honorifics so that Lodges could monitor their progress against our expectations – Bronze was the first step towards Silver, Gold, and Platinum awards. All achievements were recognised by the presentation of Certificates –
October 2016

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