2020 continues to be a challenging year with our meetings and fundraising activities severely restricted. As you know our Target of £2,712,768 was reached in November 2020, we are very pleased to announce that collectively as a Province we have passed £3,000,000 in donations. Can I thank you all for the continuing support you give which will make such a difference to those who need to call upon the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) for support.
The Festival is now in the final stages as we head into the final months and hopefully our Festival in the Park event scheduled for 24th July 2021 in the fabulous Marquee at Wynyard. Full details of what we hope will be a fitting finale to a very successful Festival Campaign for the (MCF) will be coming in the New Year.
We understand and realise many Lodges are still facing disruption and some will be finding it difficult to meet and to make vital decisions. If your Lodge is looking to release funds to support the festival, I encourage you to do so and to forward those donations to Provincial Office without delay. This will ensure we can credit it to your Lodge total without delay.
Our Grand Raffle will be drawn on 12th March 2021, Andrew Foster has contacted all the lodges with updated details. Many lodges due to current restrictions have purchased their full allocation on behalf of the lodge instead of selling to individuals which is fine. Also, if you’re planning to make a lodge donation why not consider buying additional tickets from Andrew who will ensure the purchase is allocated against your lodge target.
Speaking of Lodge targets / achievements, we now have 168 lodges that have achieved bronze, 124 have gone on to reach silver. 79 lodges have hit their target with gold, and we have 39 lodges with the PGM’s platinum. We encourage every lodge to do their best and for every member to strive to be a Steward of the Festival by donating or raising £480.
Many of our fundraising events were curtailed this year by the virus but it didn’t stop some our members from challenging themselves by walking, running and cycling and raising over £20,000 for the national COVID fund.
Can I thank everyone who has continued their direct debits during the last few months and can I encourage you to continue to do so until our Finale. The support is needed even more now by those affected due to the pandemic. The MCF has given over £80,000 since April to charities in our Province suffering from the effects of COVID-19, which has been possible by the generosity of Freemasons and their families.
Remember in these difficult times the MCF is here to help if you need support or someone you know please make the call or contact your Almoner or Benevolent Representative. This can be done very confidentially by contacting the MCF enquiry line: 0800 035 60 90.
When the London to Paris cycling event had to be postponed this year due to the Pandemic, our intrepid cyclists did not use this as an excuse to sit back and relax. Instead, when the MCF set up their Covid 19 Support Fund, their thoughts turned to how the cycle team could try to raise monies, under the current restrictions, which continue to limit numbers congregating together. So – the 100 mile challenge was born.
The Event saw a team of 14 cyclists boarding a train in Darlington or Durham whilst their bikes were being taken by van to Berwick. Unfortunately, despite best laid plans, the cyclists train was delayed and the team were almost an hour late in arriving at the start point. Thankfully the ever able support team of Paul Quinn and Harry Prince had the bikes all lined up and ready and the team were under way very shortly after arriving.
With their usual precision the organisers, Gavin Rowell and Steve Piercy, had pre-circulated the planned route to all of the riders and this promptly resulted in a small detour when the team got lost trying to get out of Berwick. In short order however the riders were on the National Cycle Route 1, the Coast & Castles route that they had followed 2 years previously. This time however they were trying to cover a route that had previously taken 2 days in only 1!
NCN1 proceeds out of Berwick through Spittal and over Goswick Golf course before turning to cross the A1 near to Belford. The route has sections over some rough sheep tracks which promptly resulted in the ever accident prone Phil Twizell having the first of his minor falls. Thankfully there was nothing more bruised than his pride.
After some strenuous climbing away from the coast the team then headed back towards Bamburgh where they were delighted to meet up with the PGM, John Arthur and his wife Joan who had travelled up to offer their support. After a brief respite however, conscious of the late start, the riders were soon back in the saddle, heading through Seahouses and down to a lunch stop in Amble. In view of the Covid restrictions it wasn’t possible to arrange a meal for such a large group and, instead, the team settled down in the sun for a picnic by the harbour where they were again joined by the PGM and his wife and also this time by the Festival Director John Thompson and his wife Andrea.
By late afternoon the team were on their way South again, heading for Blyth and on towards Tynemouth. By this time fatigue was starting to set in with a number reporting issues with cramp and, as the wind speeds picked up, progress slowed. It soon became apparent that the team were not going to make it back before nightfall, particularly after 2 punctures within a matter of only 200 yards. This had, however, always been a risk and the riders had appropriate bike lights and nice bright MCF cycle shirts. They proceeded inland to the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel before heading through Washington and then on, in the dark, to the finish at Chester-le-Street Masonic Hall.
Some of the team were visibly emotional as friends and family cheered them over the finish line before they downed a well-earned drink or two and some delicious food that Gavin’s wife Tracey had kindly laid on for them.
Including Gift Aid the Team have raised over £5000 and the sponsorship is still coming in. Well done to all. Roll on London to Paris next year
A MESSAGE FROM THE PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER AND THE 2021 FESTIVAL DIRECTOR
Dear Sir and Brother
We hope this message finds you well and safe at this difficult time. The past few weeks have been a major concern for us all and we have not seen the worst of it yet if you follow the news. The encouraging thing is that once again the nation seems to be acting as one in support of our National Health service and emergency organisations. Hopefully this “unified response of appreciation” for these key workers will last for long after this pandemic is dealt with.
This year was to be our final push in support of the 2021 Festival and so many of you were excited to be a part of it. The next few months will continue to be challenging for the country and many may need to call on The Masonic Charitable Foundation for support. The funds we have raised to date over the last 4 years I’m sure will be put to good use if called upon.
As the safety and wellbeing of our families, friends and fellow Freemasons is our main priority, we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone or cancel some of our events which are detailed below. If the event is cancelled, all those who have made sponsorships should have their donations returned, if they wish. There is no reason why you cannot ask your donors if they would like to leave their donation standing and in support of the charity, but the option to return it must be offered.
If you have paid an entrance fee or a deposit please get in touch if you wish for it to be donated in your name to the MCF or, if you require a refund please contact Paul Quinn by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For all postponed events we will keep the sponsorship going until the event is concluded.
- 15th April - Archery Event – Cancelled.
- 18th April - Eanred Lodge Ladies’ night for the 2021 Festival – Postponed to a future date
- 26th April - Lanchester Railway Walk (Alden Grange to Blackhill, @ 12miles Postponed (until late Sept / Oct).
- 23rd May - Plant Sale at Shildon hosted by Corinthian Lodge Sale conditions to be altered - details to be provided asap.
- 27th-31st - May London UGLE – Paris Eiffel Tower cycle ride Postponed until late September.
- 12th June - Ladies that Leap, Tandem Sky Dive - Postponed (date to confirm asap).
- 14th June - 24 Peaks Climbing Challenge – Cancelled.
- 2nd-5th July - Chester Le Street Beer & Cider Festival – Postponed (date to confirm asap).
- 13th September - Great North Run – The Organisers currently plan to go ahead with this event.
- 13th September - Dragon Boat Race – The Organisers currently plan to go ahead with this event.
2020 Grand Raffle
All lodges should now have tickets; we recommend that ticket sales are suspended until further notice. It is our intention to postpone the draw date until early 2021. This will give sufficient time to sell our allocation of tickets. For any tickets sold to date we have been given the advice by the Sunderland Council to “Make all reasonable efforts to inform those to whom we have, or intend to sell tickets to, that the date of the draw will be postponed (by a reasonable time) due to the Covid19 virus". A new draw date will be determined when we return from this enforced recess.
During this period, we are sure that our members will generate other methods and ideas to raise monies for charities and good causes and some we can do indoors. Maybe grow a beard, or run 10k on the running machine indoor sport or disco marathons, Etc. Etc. or even
TEXT your support (see details to the side or download here)
Whatever you do please at all times stay safe and follow the Government guidelines. The festival team are here to advise and support you in whatever you do, please get in touch with your ideas so we can share them with the all of our members.
As “we have been taught to be cautious” and at the moment caution is imperative. It is important for you to know that the Masonic Charitable Foundation is there to support you.
The MCF remains committed to providing the same levels of support to our members and to the wider society as they always have done. Of course if there is an increase in the support that they need to give they will react in the appropriate way to meet that need. There has never been a greater need for us to pull together and the support the MCF.
Thank you all for your understanding and the constant support that you give to our Charity, and hopefully this will just be a temporary pause in our fundraising activities.
We both sincerely hope that you and your families get through the next few months and are not too badly affected by this crisis and we look forward to meeting again in the not too distant future.
Sincerely and Fraternally
John Arthur ProvGM / GSupt
John Thompson 2021 Festival Director
REMEMBER TO STAY HOME -- PROTECT THE NHS – SAVE LIVES
GREAT NORTH RUN 2019
Tyneside was bathed in sunshine on Sunday the 8th September to welcome some 57,000 runners from across the globe eager to take part in the world’s greatest half marathon.
Once again amongst the throng of participants were Durham Freemasons proudly pounding the tarmac to raise over £7,500 in donations and pledges for 2021 Festival, all wearing their distinctive MCF Festival shirts.
Along with the Durham contingent were many more of our brethren, friends and family who were raising funds for individual charities and we of course equally applaud their efforts, and congratulate all on having successfully completed the gruelling 13.1-mile transition from Newcastle to the South Shields coast, where thousands of spectators applauded their triumphant efforts.
We now look forward to September 2020 when the GNR celebrates its 40th Anniversary, to mark this milestone in the history of the iconic event we as a Province are hoping to encourage 40 Durham Masons to enter.
Feeling inspired to take on #GreatNorthRun 2020?
For more images from the day visit the FlickR album.