An ‘inspirational and enlightening’ occasion was how one guest described a Charity Showcase hosted by Lancaster and District Freemasons.
Held at the Lothersdale Hotel, Morecambe, the event brought together 20 of the local and national charities and good causes which had benefitted from donations made by the Masonic lodges and chapters of the Group over the past 12 months with representatives of those donor lodges.
The event was also honoured by the attendance and support of the Chairman of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Margaret Brindle and her consort Mr William Brindle and the Right Worshipful Mayor of Lancaster Councillor Jon Barry who joined the more than 100 other attendees at what was the first such event held in the Lancaster and District Group.
Introducing the proceedings, Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger said: “Helping others is one of the basic requirements of a civilised society. Over the past ten years Freemasons in this country have donated over £100 million pounds to charitable and non-charitable causes including not only hospices and air ambulance charities, but medical research and international disaster relief.
At a local level we also believe that we should do what we can to support local charities and good causes and the lodges of the Lancaster Group have over the past year between them raised and distributed almost £22,000. Whereas £200 may not seem a lot compared with some of the larger grants made by Freemasons, to a small, local, good cause it may make the difference between survival and going under.”
Each of the charities in turn took a few minutes to explain the work they do in the community and the importance of donations to their ongoing success.
Speaking after the event, Helen Soutar of St John’s Hospice said: “The event was simply inspirational. It was so enlightening to hear from all the other local charities who all do such great work and all deserve your support so much. It was also really interesting to hear more about the Masonic organisation and understand your values and ethos and how much you raise every year for worthy causes. Thank you so much for your continued support. Everyone at St John’s Hospice really appreciates everything you do for us.”
The charities and organisations involved in the presentations were: Lancashire and South Lakes Kidney Patients’ Association; Marie Curie; When You Wish Upon A Star; Neonatal Unity RLI; Primrose House, Morecambe; Ronald McDonald House; Motor Neurone Disease Association; Morecambe Heritage; RNLI Morecambe Station; NW Blood Bikes; Rainbow Centre, Morecambe; Lancaster Samaritans; NW Air Ambulance; Cancer Care, Slynedales; St John’s Hospice, Lancaster; Morecambe Air Cadets; Galloways Society for the Blind; Garstang Scouts; Garstang Guides; and the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
Some of the charities selected by lodges for donations may hold particular affinity with one or more of the members which inevitably made some of the presentations even more poignant. One such was by Ruth Jagger of When You Wish Upon a Star who shared family tragedy with Andrew and Ruth Gardner of Scorton Lodge and who commented: “Thank you for inviting me along to the Showcase. It was wonderful to hear about the work that the different organisations do. Freemasons should be proud of the difference you are making to the lives of others and we truly appreciate all your help.”