£2.25m pledge from Freemasons

Jez Hyland, chairman of the Festival
Jez Hyland, chairman of the Festival

Lincolnshire’s 3,400 Freemasons, including those from Louth and Alford, have committed to raise £2.25 million for charity during the next five years.

They will be doing it through a ‘Festival’, a series of fundraising events to be staged throughout Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire, coupled with regular individual giving.

More than 160 Freemasons gathered at the weekend to launch the Festival and its #Lincs2025 hashtag, and the turnout delighted Chairman Jez Hyland.

He said: “There was a tremendous buzz in the room with so many people not only attending, but being positive about what we aim to achieve.

“It was especially useful to have representatives of some of the charities we’ve already helped join us for lunch, so members could hear first hand the positive difference we have been able to make at the ‘sharp end’, where the important work really happens.”

The money raised will be channelled into the Freemasons’ charity, the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), which will make sure it gets to the point of need to improve the quality of life in the communities where the Freemasons meet.

Even when there is no Festival running, the MCF supports individuals and organisations in Lincolnshire with donations.

Among the grants given recently was one to Age UK Lindsey to support a long-term project called Later Life Goals, The Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance, Wainfleet flooding victims, all hospices in Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire and Freemasons in Australia, who are supporting people affected by bushfires.

Chairman of the MCF trustees James Newman was at the event, and said the charity would award about 40,000 grants during the five years of the Festival.

He said: “Everything we do is in your name.”

Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler from Lincoln is the Province’s most senior Freemason and is in full support of the festival.

He said: “I have every confidence that if all the Freemasons in the Province of Lincolnshire commit to having a good time, and contributing whatever small amount they can on a regular basis, our aspiration to raise £2.25m will be met – and I’m happy to thank them in advance.

“The Festival represents a fantastic opportunity to further bring together our members, wives, partners, family, and friends.

“I hope we’ll all get involved and be happy and successful together.

“The end of the Festival is no time to look back and regret having not been part it.”

To find out more about Freemasonry in Lincolnshire visit lincolnshirefreemasons.org