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On a summer’s evening recently, 130 people packed into the Lymington Masonic Hall for the presentation of cheques by New Forest masonic lodges to the representatives of 28 local charities and worthy causes. The total amount donated was over £22,000, some of which was gifted by the Tom Langton Fund. Among the civic dignitaries present were the Chairman of the New Forest District Council, Cllr Maureen Holding and her deputy, Cllr Edward Heron, the Mayor of Lymington, Cllr Mike White and the Mayor of Christchurch, Cllr Denise Jones. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Province was represented by the Provincial Grand Master, Michael Wilks accompanied by his wife Kay, the Deputy PGM Graham Williams and
his wife Ann, and the New Forest APGM Geoff Tuck.
The local charities and organisation present were Oakhaven Hospice,
Prostrate Cancer, Honeypot, New Forest Trust, The Stable Family Trust,
Solent Dolphin, Furzey Gardens, Teenage Cancer Trust, Poulner Scouts,
Solent Rescue, The Rainbow Centre and many others. After each cheque
presentation the charity representatives were given an opportunity to say
a few words about their organisation, many of which were very moving, and the PGM provided a short resumé of freemasonry and its efforts to dispel some of the myths that had emerged over the years. The evening concluded with a buffet supper and an opportunity for the visitors to look around the temple and museum.
Over 170 people, including the Mayor of Havant, Cllr Paul Becket and his wife Jackie, crammed into the Purbrook Masonic Centre to witness a number of SE Area lodges presenting cheques to local charities. The event was opened by Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Mark Mills-Goodlet, who gave a brief introduction and explanation about freemasonry, its recent history and masonic charities. The Mayor also welcomed those present and commented on the close relationship that is developing between freemasons and the community. The charities were then introduced by John Charlton, acting as Master of Ceremonies, presented with their cheques and given a short period to promote their charity during which they gave examples of their valued and often heart-wrenching work.
Half way through the evening, the audience were entertained by one of the charities, the Urban Vocal Group, a truly outstanding choir comprised of children ranging in ages from 7 to 16. They were also able to view the poster displays provided by the various charities.
Amongst the beneficiaries who received donations totalling almost £11,500 were: Beacon Food Group, Body Focus Group, Canine Partners for Independence, Cardiomyopathy, EC Roberts Centre, Fitzroy, Hampshire Air Ambulance, Hannah’s Holiday Homes, Hope for Tomorrow, Hounds for Heroes, Naomi House, Off the
Record, Planets, Rainbow Centre, Roberts Centre, Solent MS Therapy Centre, Stonham Homegroup and Urban Vocal Group.
Test Valley Lodge freemasons have donated £500 to the Waterside Food Bank which is based in Blackfield, Southampton. The organisation, which has seen demand for its service rise steadily in recent times, is part of the Trussell Trust network of food banks who provide emergency food parcels for distribution to people in financial crisis. The food bank is a straightforward system of collection, collation and distribution of basic food items in the form of emergency food boxes. It offers a temporary, practical stopgap and can also be used as a catalyst for getting to grips with fundamental challenges that overwhelm people.
Waterside Ecumenical Projects launched the Waterside Foodbank on December 15th 2008 and continue to run it. It is staffed with volunteers drawn from local ecumenical church communities. In its first year, nearly 4 tonnes of food was donated and over 250 emergency food boxes were distributed amongst 500 people. Tinned and dried food is collected from supermarkets and other local collection points, stored in their warehouse and placed in emergency food boxes for distribution.
Each box consists of three days worth of nutritionally balanced tinned and dried food, designed to give individuals or families in crisis a breathing space while support is organised. Photo: Philip Rowe, WM of Test Valley Lodge makes the presentation with Secretary Peter Jones to Jan Hayter, Co-ordinator of the Waterside Food Bank.
Philip Rowe
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