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Shropshire’s Freemasons donate £44,000 to food banks

Keith Woodville, Paul Radcliffe, David Whiteley, Roger Pemberton, Sonia Evan, Luke Hart and Paul Hart

The Shropshire Masonic Charitable Association, to which all members contribute, set aside £10,000 to help deal with the virus.

Many of the 36 individual lodges across the county have given a total of £7,500 and others have donated £6,800 to 12 different food banks.

One Shrewsbury Lodge, The Salopian Lodge of Charity, has set aside a further sum of up to £20,000 to provide a van for the Shrewsbury Food Hub to replace their rental vehicle.

Roger Pemberton, who as Provincial Grand Master leads the county’s 1,200 Freemasons, said: “I am enormously proud of all our members for stepping forward in so many ways to demonstrate the practice of one of masonry’s core principles: compassion.

“The work being done throughout the county is a great example of masons being a part of their community, as they have been for over three hundred years.”

Food banks across the county registered with the Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance have been given £1,000 each from the funds to help them meet the needs of those who are struggling to provide.

Dennis Hill, who is coordinating the work, said food banks should contact him for help: “The money can be with the food bank within as little as 24 hours of us being contacted.

“If any eligible food bank needs our help, they need only contact me on and I’ll put things in motion straight away.”

Andy McGuiness is using his 3D printer to produce face shields, which are being offered to all the county’s care and nursing homes. The fund will provide a further printer and materials to help him make them and his fellow members are helping with distribution.

Over in Telford, Keith Woodville, with the help of local volunteer group Markerpace and the father and son Hart team and the support of his employers RBSL, have also been hard at work with their printers.

Dave Kettle is the senior mason responsible for the PPE project: “We have now produced and delivered over 1,700 protective visors for as many as 45 care and nursing homes across Shropshire and Telford.

“We are happy to be able help relieve their need for protection for their residents and their amazingly dedicated staff, and I’m anxious to hear from any other homes who think we may be able to help.”