For the 7th year in a row, Leyland and District Group of Freemasons put on a very public show when Chris Blackwell (Chairman of Leyland Group) welcomed the newly installed Mayor of South Ribble Councillor Mrs Linda Woollard and her consort Mr Alistair Woollard along with representatives from 23 local charities to their annual giving day.
After welcoming all of the guests to the event at Leyland Masonic Hall, Wellington Park, Chris continued by introducing some of his colleagues who were taking part: Stewart Seddon (Assistant Provincial Grand Master), Mike Pinckard (group vice chairman), John Wrenall (regional charity steward), Andy Sumner (group publicity officer) and Jeff Lucas (Leyland Group Charity Steward) who along with his wife Ann (who had contributed to the organisation of the day and produced the event brochures).
Stewart Seddon set about welcoming the guests by giving a brief introduction about the organisation’s history and charitable background. He briefed the audience about Elias Ashmole, founder of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford and how he wrote in his diary about becoming a Freemason in October 1646, through to the forming of United Grand Lodge in 1813 – the first Grand Lodge being formed in 1717 in London which next year sees Freemasonry celebrate its tercentenary.
In 1980 the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) established the Grand Charity and with encouragement from the Grand Master, HRH Duke of Kent, it has provided over £57.000.000 to non-Masonic charities.
Since the last Leyland Group Giving Day, across the Province of West Lancashire, both national and local charities, Masonic and non-Masonic have benefitted from around a total of £190,400 from Freemasons. Stewart presented a breakdown of Leyland’s contribution to the total which saw £16,085 being donated by the Leyland Group of Freemasons to non-Masonic charities and £10,006 being donated to Masonic charities; a grand total of £26,091. He continued by announcing his pleasure at naming the following 23 charities together with the donations to be received by the charity representatives.
The presentations were to: Rainbow House a cheque for £200 being presented by Ian Hainsworth with the donation being put towards delivering conductive education.
Friends of The Space Centre Preston received a cheque for the sum of £1,700. £300 of which was from Longton Lodge No 6237, £200 from donations made by lodge members and guests at Leyland St Andrews Lodge No 7391 Ladies Evening and £1,200 from Leyland St Andrews Lodge Ladies Social Committee Charity Evening. The donation will go towards upgrading the technology available at the centre. This cheque was presented to Hilary Holden and Jacky Hohol by Leyland St Andrews Lodge Ladies Social Committee and Martin Parker from Longton Lodge.
St Catherine’s Hospice, having already received a cheque for £100 from Carnarvon Lodge No 2376 and £3,783 from the Grand Charity, Lorraine Charlesworth (Director of Community and Income from St Catherine’s Hospice) received a cheque for the sum of £1,000. This was presented as £300 from Andy Sumner of Phoenix Lodge of Installed Masters No 9206, £300 from Martin Parker of Longton Lodge, £250 from Bill Nelson and Arthur Walmsley of Euxton Lodge No 7192 and £50 from the Leyland and District Group, bringing this year’s total to £4,783.
Rosemere Cancer Foundation received a cheque for £650 which was presented to Amy Hilton from donations of £150 from Mason Wheeler of Carnarvon Lodge, £250 from Dave Johnson of Old Huttonian Lodge No 7614 and £250 from Derek Easton of Euxton Lodge.
The North West Air Ambulance received a cheque for £500, which comprised £50 from Farington Lodge No 7277, £150 from Carnarvon Lodge and £300 from De Bon Cuer Lodge No 6984. The Air Ambulance had already received £12,000 previously from the Grand Charity.
Derian House Children’s Hospice had earlier received £3,635 from the Grand Charity and on the day, Terry Fowler presented an additional £50 from Farington Lodge; £300 presented by John Anderson of Phoenix Lodge of Installed Masters; £200 from Ian Hainsworth of Cuerden Lodge No 6018; £300 from Derek Alty of Leyland Hesketh Lodge No 986 and £270 from David Swift of White Hills Lodge No 5209. Sophie Saunders who received the cheque for £1,120 on behalf of the Hospice said that the money would be put to enhancing the existing facilities. This made a grand total of £4,755 since the last Giving Day.
The RNLI Lytham St Anne’s received a total of £300. The cheques were presented to Digby Moulden Chair of Fundraising and crew member; £250 by John and Joan Patterson representing Euxton Lodge and £50 from Stephen Lunt representing the Leyland Group.
Teddies for Loving Care had already received £200 from Phoenix Lodge of Installed Masters, £200 from Red Rose of Lancashire Lodge No 9640, £100 from Old Huttonian Lodge, £250 from Leyland St Andrews Lodge, £770 from Leyland Hesketh Lodge, £539 from Bill Cordell’s ‘beard shave’ and £150 from Old Worden Chapter No 5366. Mike Pinckard (group vice chairman) presented Bob Olive with a cheque for £291 from the Leyland Group, making a grand total of £2,500.
Meningitis Now representative Roya Armstrong (Community Fundraising Officer) received a cheque for £2,155 which comprised £555 from Ian and Diane Heyes on behalf of Leyland Hesketh Lodge Ladies’ Committee, £530 from Susan and Raymond Cookson of Leyland Hesketh Lodge, £250 from Dave Johnson Old Huttonian Lodge, £500 from David Swift of White Hills Lodge and a cheque for £320 from Andy Sumner representing the Leyland Group.
Amongst the many other grateful beneficiaries were: Headway Preston £300; Key Unlocking Futures £200; The Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund £200; North West Cancer Research £100; The Alzheimer’s Society £300; Macmillan £450; Guide Dogs £1,000; VSO £250; The North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Southport £400; Alder Hey Children’s Charity £500; Chorley and District MS Society £250; Preston Orpheous Choir £150; The League of Friends of Wrightington Hospital £300; Work Experience Student Nurse Nicki Walsh £250 and the Wellington Park Masonic Hall Appeal £3,400.
Finally, Stewart Seddon presented a cheque for £250 from the Leyland and District Group to the Mayor of South Ribble Councillor Mrs Linda Woollard, to be given to her nominated charities – Galloway’s Society for the Blind, St Catherine’s Hospice and Heartbeat. Linda addressed the audience thanking them for their generosity. She made a specific mention of the many recipients of donations and how grateful they were for them and how these contributions will have life changing results for many people.
Mike Pinckard was then invited to say a few words and in summarising the event he stated what it means, not only to the Leyland Group of Freemasons to help out all charities, but to the recipients of such grand donations. He thanked everyone for their attendance and hoped to see a continued support from the group over the coming year.