2013 Charity Festival
Address of the Provincial Grand Master RW Brother Reverend Malcolm C.G. Lane. At the Silurian Lodge Installation Meeting on Wednesday 2nd January, 2008 to launch -
The Monmouthshire Provincial Grand Charity Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls & Boys
Firstly I thank the Worshipful Master and his Wardens and Brethren for allowing me to assume the Chair of King Solomon and you WM especially for giving up your gavel so soon.
Brethren, it is with enormous pleasure that I address you all this evening and I am indebted to the Silurian Lodge for facilitating this time for my Official launch of the 2013 Festival for Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. That means Brethren OFFICIALLY that in 2013, the Anniversary Festival is being held under the banner of this Province under my Presidency which I find is indeed such a great privilege.
Well Brethren, and so that now mean BRETHREN that the focus now of all charitable fundraising in the Province is, and will be over the next five years, in aid of the 2013 Festival for the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys.
That does not mean that Local Charitable initiatives will cease! Far from it. The Monmouthshire Masonic Trust stands by and is ready under the Chairmanship of W Bro Richard Davies. The Fund has been already topped up to meet applications from Lodges to meet their requests to the Trust for assistance towards Local Charitable needs. The details of the scheme will be distributed to all Lodges with in the next week to ten days.
So Brethren I mention Festival and so what are Festivals? For those of you who may not know exactly what Festivals are and here I address the younger Mason in terms length of membership of the Craft.
WELL! They are happy occasions at which Brethren and Ladies meet one another in a convivial social environment. They are held to celebrate the completion of a Province's appeal on behalf of the festivals beneficiary. In most cases this will have lasted for several years and involved a great deal of hard work on the part of the Brethren of the Province - especially Lodge Charity Stewards.
We as Masons are privileged men – for to us much is given and in return much is expected. The Festival begins with a reception at which the Brethren, wearing full Masonic Craft regalia and, of course, the Festival Jewel, are received with their Ladies and greeted by the Provincial Grand Master, after which there is the opportunity of circulating socially and meeting members of other Lodges.
The reception is followed a little later by the Festival banquet, at which the principal guest could be either the Pro Grand Master, the Deputy or Assistant Grand Master, representing the M W The Grand Master.
It is also usual for a number of Provincial Grand Masters from surrounding Provinces to attend and support the Festival President. The final figure of charitable donations raised within the Province is usually announced after dinner, together with any support received from other Provinces.
This particular Festival- The 2013 Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) I as your Provincial Grand Master as President have the privilege of hosting and today I and my Deputy Provincial Grand Master, V W Bro Anthony Williams officially launch The Festival. As you know I have appointed W. Bro Robert Arundel, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master as Festival Chairman and he will be Assisted by W Bro Michael Wightman Provincial Grand Charity Steward who will act as co-ordinator between individual Lodge Charity Stewards and the carefully selected initial committee formed to administer all of our efforts. Each Lodge will be allocated a member of the Festival committee to assist and advise where appropriate.
Shortly every member of the Province will receive through the post a detailed brochure and personal letter from me outlining the appeal in greater detail A special jewel for the Festival has been designed it is a most pleasing and it is hoped that every Brother will wear it with pride.
A Brother may qualify to become a Festival Steward for this Festival by making a minimum qualifying donation towards the appeal. Brethren and Ladies qualified as Festival Stewards are entitled to attend the Festival and dine on paying the dining fee.
Qualified Brethren are also entitled to apply for a Festival jewel.
I am pleased to say that the Trust for Girls and Boys has already a presence in MONMOUTHSHIRE because as at the beginning of June 2007 there were a number of beneficiaries already receiving the care and protection of the Trust from within the Province of Monmouthshire.
These beneficiaries were receiving assistance due to the death of a parent, desertion of a parent, or the disability of a parent each category bringing its own unique heartbreak and turmoil to that family.
In the last ten years alone, a total of over £88,000 was expended by the Trust on its beneficiaries from within this Province.
The children and the young people under the protection of the Craft thank the Province for its hard work on their behalf, which enables them to maintain confidence in the belief that the Craft will continue to assist them in preparation for life ‘as their fathers would have done had they been able so to do.
Brethren, I have to tell you that the RMTGB is the oldest of the main national Masonic Charities and its Mission statement is defined simply:- and that is
“To relieve poverty and provide an education and preparation for life for the children of a freemason and where funds permit, for any children.”
The Trust is very proud that for over 200 years it has never had to turn away any Masonic applicant for lack of funds. But I know that the last few years have been difficult financially for the Trust with an annual deficit of some £2-3m between its income (includes festivals such as ours) and its expenditure. Grants have had to be reduced and expenditure trimmed. Grants to full beneficiaries have been, and will continue to be honoured.
Monmouthshire’s Festival will be key to supplying much-needed funds for the RMTGB and we must aim to raise as much as possible. Brethren will be strongly encouraged to direct their Masonic charitable giving for the period up to the Festival to the RMTGB, particularly through Gift Aid Declarations which enables the Trust to get a 28% in tax relief where the donor is a tax payer. This is a small return for some of the tax that we have all paid in our lifetimes so we should aim to maximize it!
There are some 1400 Freemasons in Monmouthshire and if each Mason were to contribute a minimum of £5 per month - a little over a £ 1 per week - for 5 years and 50% complete Gift Aid Declarations then we will raise over £1m from individual donations alone.
In Monmouthshire over the last 10 years 9 families have been assisted with grants which total £88,000 We do not or wish to have details of those assisted as confidentiality will always be maintained and currently support is provided for 2 families. I am confident that the publicity this appeal gives will ensure more Monmouthshire involvement and more applications for those who need assistance.
I have recently facilitated an application from our Cathedral Church of St Woolos in obtaining an annual renewable Bursary Grant in the sum of £2500 pa. This will assist with fees Brethren we are challenged to do good work here for a most honourable and worthy charity.
Under the Presidency of R W Bro M john Hughes this Province shone at the last Festival- for the Samaritan Fund, when we were challenged as we are challenged now and again we will rise to that challenge in respect of supporting our children and young people for they are our future.
I will briefly summarise in outline some of the detail in how we are to support this Festival appeal and how to qualify for example as a Festival Steward.
Gift Aid or a Cash pledge for £300 over the 5 year period equates only to 92 pence per week. and for example:-
Vice Patrons will qualify after a pledge of £600 over the 5 years which after tax relief equates to £1.85 per week, and Patrons will qualify after a pledge of £900 over the 5 year period which after tax relief equates to £2.77 per week.
BUT It is only that at this level that a member will approach the suggested £2.50 per week or ‘equivalent to say a gin and tonic or that pint of beer’ and this is the Level I* have suggested in my letter which was forwarded to all members of the Craft despatch to all members of the Province in the summer. And that Grand Patrons will qualify after a pledge of £1200 over the 5 years which after tax relief equates to £3.69 per week. These amounts Brethren will not I feel “Break the Bank.”
As far as individual Lodges are concerned to be a Subscriber then a contribution of £3000 over the 5 years is necessary.
A Vice Patron then a contribution of £6000 over the 5 years
A Patron then a contribution of £10000 over the 5 years is required
A Grand Patron then £15000 over the 5 years would be necessary
As the Festival period unfolds then Lodges will receive regular updates on the progress of the Fund. In the past when the Province has launched a Festival it is expected that the proceeds of Raffles at the Installation Dinner will be credited to the benefit to the Trust for Girls and Boys. Some Lodges may wish also to adopt the Loose Change Scheme whereby voluntary contributions at Installation meetings may be made to the Trust. It may be that some Lodge may wish to adopt a similar scheme the Grand Officers and Provincial Grand Lodge Officers timed ‘fund raising’. All these monies will be credited to individual Lodges for honorific qualifications.
For Members of the Province there is of course the Purchase of Jewels, Diaries, Ties or any other Festival merchandise which will be credited to each individual member for Honorific qualifications. The purchase of these items will also qualify for Gift Aid Donations. So I encourage Lodges to fully participate in all these activities and I encourage the Gift Aid because of the Tax relief.
I also stress that I welcome to all cash donations from those who do not wish to enter a Tax Gift Aid. I also Encourage Lodges especially via the Ladies Festivals and their Own Lodges social functions to donate some if not all of their proceeds to this worth Festival Trust Fund. This will then qualify towards Lodge Honorific’s.
Brethren I have been honoured by the Trust for Girls and Boys as only three weeks ago I was elected as a full member of the Council. It is not only a honour for me personally but also for the Province of Monmouthshire.
Worshipful Master and Brethren I thank you and may God bless you all richly.