The astonishing munificence of Freemasonry was on public show when the chairman of the Leyland and District Group of Freemasons, Stewart Seddon, welcomed the newly installed Deputy Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Mrs Mary Green and her consort Mr Tony Green and Mr Tony Stevens, President of the Rotary Club of South Ribble along with representatives from 23 local charities to the group’s sixth annual ‘Giving Day’.
After welcoming the guests to Leyland Masonic Hall, Stewart said he was amazed, although not altogether surprised, that the ‘Giving Day’ has snowballed. He said at the first event in May 2010, presentations were made to just seven charities, with a further four having been assisted during the course of that year. The sum donated at that time amounted to £30,052 which included grants from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity and was matched funded by the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
Stewart continued by saying: “Even though we are only just coming out of a recession, we are announcing donations amounting to over £157,000 to local non-Masonic charities in the last 12 months”.
Stewart then introduced some of his colleagues who were taking part in the event: “Ray Martland (Assistant Provincial Grand Master), Paul Renton (Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals), Chris Blackwell (Leyland Group Vice Chairman), Ian Douglass (Deputy CEO of the West Lancashire Freemasons ‘ Charity), John Lucas (group treasurer), Jeff Lucas (Leyland Group Charity Steward) and who, along with his wife Ann organised the day’s event and produced the brochures.”
Ray next announced the names of the charities and the details of the donations they were to receive:
St Catherine’s Hospice during the past year they have received £3,736 from The Freemasons Grand Charity as part of the £600,000 which has been distributed to the 239 national hospices this year. Lorraine Charlesworth, Director of Income Generation, from St Catherine’s Hospice received a cheque for £1100 to go towards refurnishing the inpatients lounge.
North West Air Ambulance this year they have received £12,000 from The Freemasons Grand Charity which is part of the £192,000 annual commitment to Air Ambulances nationally and part of the £1.3 million donated to the 22 Air Ambulances nationally since 2007. Ann Lucas was presented £800 on behalf of Jo Fowler for the NWAA which will purchase almost two full tanks of fuel.
Miles of Smiles received £1115 from Leyland St Andrew’s Lodge Ladies’ Committee who raised the money during an evening of Fashion and Fun, £250 from Euxton Lodge, £500 from Longton Lodge and £135 from the Leyland Group, a total of £2000. Karen Rainford from Miles of Smiles said: “This money will go towards providing much needed ‘Smiles’ for five local children.”
Lancashire Women’s Centre £1,000 which will partially fund a disabled toilet in the new centre opening in Preston.
Amongst the many other grateful beneficiaries were: The Legacy-Rainbow House £200, Babybeat £400, The Space Centre £500, Rosemere Cancer Foundation £500, Derian House Children’s Hospice £600, Galloway’s Society for the Blind £200, Headway Preston £500, Teddies for Loving Care £300, The Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund £200, Cardiac Risk In the Young £500, Key Unlocking Futures £150, Longton WI £500, The British Heart Foundation £250, Meningitis Now £986, Cancer Research £100, The Alzheimer’s Society £250, Macmillan Cancer Support £140, Prostate Cancer UK £700.
Each recipient gave a brief summary of the work they do in the community – some of which were quite heartbreaking to hear.
Other charities who have received donations prior to the Giving Day this year are:
Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys £50; Masonic Samaritan Fund £25; Hutton Grammar School £500; East Lancashire Masonic Benevolent Society £200; Neuro Foundation £450; Fire Fighters’ Charity £100; LUV Preston £100 and Gilbert and Sullivan Society £250.
Ray then presented Ian Douglass with donations from lodges and chapters in the group totalling £7033. Ian thanked all the brethren who had contributed to the magnificent donation. He then gave a brief overview of the WLFC’s work. Ian said the WLFC’s main aims were to relieve poverty and to help people in times of financial crisis. He explained the structure and the workings of the WLFC which is based in Huyton and manned by 35 volunteers. He concluded by saying that the charity given 480 grants during 2014 totaling over £500,000.
Ray Martland then gave a cheque for £250 from the Leyland and District Group to the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mrs Mary Green for the Mayors nominated charities which are the St Catherine’s Hospice, Rosemere Cancer Foundation and Rainbow House.
Mary then addressed the Leyland Freemasons present and thanking them for their generosity she made a specific mention of the many recipients of donations, how grateful they were for them and how contributions such as those made would have life changing results for many people. She then spoke about the Mayor’s chosen charities.
The ‘Giving Day’ event was formerly closed with Chris Blackwell, vice chairman of the group thanking the representatives of the charities for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend the meeting.
The total donations to non-Masonic charities during the past 12 months from the Freemasons locally including The Grand Charity was £157,041. The total donations to Masonic Charities were £7308 making a grand total of £164,349.
The total donations to non-Masonic charities during the past 12 months from the 450 Freemasons locally including The Grand Charity was £157,041.
The total donations to Masonic Charities are £7308 making a grand total of £164,599.