Truly astounding donations demonstrate the generosity of Freemasonry and this was very much in evidence when the Warrington Group of lodges and chapters held its annual charity giving day at Warrington Masonic Hall. Almost £41,000 was distributed to local and national charities, going to Masonic and non-Masonic charities, causes and projects.
Warrington Group Chairman Andy Barton opened the giving day by welcoming all the visitors present, especially the principal guests, the Mayor and Mayoress of Warrington, Councillor Ted Finnegan with his wife Mavis, Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Barry Jameson, saying how delighted he was to have them present to witness the support offered by the group for local charities and causes.
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 continued by saying this support is provided either directly from local groups and lodges, through the four national Masonic charities and our own West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. Unfortunately most of these donations go unnoticed.
One national charity is the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which provided over £6,000,000 to people in need in 2014. The Grand Charity key facts are; over £120,000,000 has been donated to charitable causes since 1981. Since 1984, 290 hospices have received a share of more than £11,500,000. Almost £10,000,000 in medical research funding has contributed to successful treatments for a whole range of illnesses and since 2007 over £1,500,000 has been donated to support air ambulance charities.
Andy continued by outlining a few basic statistics of recent relief funds for the following international disaster donations which were; £50,000 to the Red Cross for the Nepal earthquake and £185,000 for the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines towards rebuilding classrooms and health centres.
Kevin Poynton then made presentations to the following organisations:
Wargrave House £5,000, Radley Common Luncheon Club £3,200, Ella Performance Group £3,000, St Rocco’s Hospice £2,640, Friends of St Mary’s Cemetery Great Sankey £1,544, Macmillan Cancer Support £1,400, Dwarf Sports Association £1,250, Warrington Masonic Museum £1,050, Walton Lea Project £850, Warrington Disabled Partnership £624, Lukemia Care £600, The Mayor’s Charity £500, Grappenhall Sports Club £500, St Thomas’ Church Stockton Heath £341, St Elphin’s Church Warrington £315, Derian House Children’s Hospice £300, Ella Performance Group £300, St Oswald’s Church Winwick £251 and Warrington General Neo Natal Ward £240.
Other charities and causes not presented on the day:
Blue Lamp Foundation £250, Christian Aid £250, Parkinsons UK £250, British Heart Foundation £220, CLASP £210, Warrington Young Carers £200, Stroke Association £200, Royal Manchester Children’s’ Hospital £200, Talking Newspapers £150, Francis House Hospice £150, Halton Autistic Family Support £150, Warrington Food Bank £100, Alder Hey Hospital £100, Cantreat £100, Brookfield School £100, Warrington Hospital League of Friends £100, Hope House Hospice £100, Clatterbridge Hospital £100, Alzheimer’s Society £100, Oakwood Guides Group £70 and Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal £39.
The total of donations to non-Masonic charities during the last 12 months was £27,044.
Donations to Masonic charities included, West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity £6,845, Warrington Masonic Hall £4,038, Friends of Ecclesholme £901, lodge widows £1,795 and Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys £324.
The total of donations to Masonic charities during the last 12 months was £13,903.
The 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 £40,947.
Julie Dove of St Rocco’s Hospice thanked the group on behalf of all the recipients, saying that the total donations to charity were such huge amounts of money to support so many worthy causes. Julie continued by saying that St Rocco’s is very much dependent upon donations and like most hospices could not operate without the generous support from local people. She concluded by thanking the Masons of Warrington for their continued help and generous support.
The Mayor, Councillor Ted Finnegan, also thanked the group for supporting so many local causes indicating the incredible impact the support provides to many very needy and worthwhile non-Masonic causes within the district. He also thanked the group for the direct donation to his own charity and the value of the help it provided.
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.