Truly astounding donations demonstrated the generosity of Freemasonry and were very much in evidence when the Warrington Group of Lodges and Chapters held its annual charity Giving Day at Warrington Masonic Hall. Over £53,619 was distributed to local and national charities, including Masonic and non-Masonic charities, good causes and projects.
Andy Barton, the Warrington Group Chairman, opened the Giving Day by welcoming all the visitors present, especially the principal guests, the Mayor and Mayoress of Warrington, Councillor Geoff Settle with his wife Jean, David Mowatt MP for Warrington, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Barry Jameson. Andy said how delighted he was to have them present to witness the support offered by the group for local charities and good causes. Andy continued by introducing the group officials, Chris Gleave group vice chairman, John McIntyre group secretary, Mike Williams group charity steward and Mike Hamilton group care officer.
He then briefly explained that Freemasons are one of the largest contributors to non-Masonic charities after the National Lottery. The causes supported range from international disaster relief, national charities, hospices and important local community based projects and charities. Andy explained that three levels of donations are provided either directly from local groups and lodges, through our own West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity or through our national Masonic charities. Unfortunately most of these donations go unnoticed.
One national charity is the Freemason’s Grand Charity which supports people in need with nearly £8,000,000 each year and in 2015 the donations included £1,100,000 in grants to medical research charities, £864,000 in grants to charities including youth opportunities and vulnerable people, £192,000 to air ambulance services, £600,000 to hospices and £700,000 to the Scout Association, along with many others. In addition many disaster relief funds have also been supported, some of which include £75,000 to flood relief in Lancashire and Yorkshire, £138,000 to Vanuatu cyclone relief, £30,000 to India flood relief and £30,000 to flood relief in Cumbria.
Andy introduced Councillor Geoff Settle the Mayor of Warrington who briefly explained that his own charities for his year of office stands currently at approximately £10,000 and thanked the group for their donation of £600 to his charities. He also relayed some of his experiences to the work done by the charities being supported at this event.
Next, Andy introduced the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton who made presentations to the following organisations:
Derian House Children’s Hospice £4,465, St Rocco’s Hospice £4,044, Radley Common Luncheon Club £2,000, CAP Jobs Club £2,000, St Thomas’ Church Bell Fund £1,100, Warrington Civic Trust – Crosfield Bell Appeal £1,000, Alzheimer’s Society £1,000, Ronald McDonald House £960, Clare House Hospice £940, Walton Lea Project £700, Wargrave House £500, The Mayor’s Charity £600, RNI for the Blind £500, The Walton Centre, Fazackerly £425, CANtreat £400, St Thomas’ Church, Stockton Heath £341, Warrington General Neonatal Ward £284, St Elphin’s Church £274, Warrington Museum of Freemasonry £267, St Oswald’s Church, Winwick £250 and Trackers Transplant Charity £250.
Other charities and causes that were supported but not presented on the day:
Blue Lamp Foundation £250, Sense Deafblind People £250, St Luke’s Hospice £200, Room at the Inn for the Homeless £200, Diabetes UK £200, Warrington Youth Carers £200, Manchester Children’s Hospital £200, Army Cadets £200, National Autistic Society £190, Macmillan Cancer Support £150, Francis House Hospice £150, Community Police Support £150, Jerusalem Eye Hospital £150, Warrington YMCA £106, Warrington Food Bank £100, Brookfield School £100, Warrington Disabled Living Centre £100, Clatterbridge Hospital £100, Warrington Talking Newspapers £100, British Heart Foundation £100, Warrington Hospital League of Friends £100, Warrington Hospital Coronary Care Unit £100, Claran’s Cause £67, Parkinsons UK £50 and Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal £39.
The total of donations to non-Masonic charities during the last 12 months was £25,852. Donations to Masonic charities included West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £12,866, Warrington Masonic Hall £7,461, lodge widows £3,450, Grand Charity £3,100 and Friends of Ecclesholme £890. The total of donations to Masonic charities during the last 12 months was £27,767.
The overall total of charity donations during the last 12 months from the Warrington Masonic Group, Grand Charity and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for the year was £53,619. Many of the recipients thanked the group for supporting them and so many other local causes.
In conclusion Chris Gleave, vice chairman, drew the meeting to a close by thanking everyone for their attendance and pointed out that the museum would be open for inspection, should anyone wish to visit.