Ian Craigs, the Provincial Grand Master of Northumberland hosted the event at St James’ Park where almost 800 Freemasons, their families and special guests from North East charities celebrated the Tercentenary of the organisation. Special guest of the evening was Peter Geoffrey Lowndes, the Pro Grand Master, who represented England’s highest ranking Freemason, HRH, The Duke of Kent.
Although the evening was filled with entertainment, good food and distinguished guests, it was the charitable side of Freemasonry that stole the show.
Ian Craigs explained that this year, The Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland has given away £300,000 to local charities to boost worthwhile and deserving projects throughout the region. There are 27 lodge meeting places across North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland and the donations all went to local good causes.
“We’ve tried to donate money to charities close to each lodge building so that we can really make a positive impact on local projects and causes near to where Masonry takes place,”
“Our donations, which were all chosen by our members, will go a long way towards helping the charities concerned carry on their sterling work. This is one of the main things that Freemasons do and often we give without telling anyone. This year, we celebrate our 300th year and we’d like everyone to know how we help their local community.”
Charities benefiting from donations included the Hextol Foundation in Hexham, Morpeth’s Mustard Tree Trust and Forest Hall based Percy Hedley Foundation who were each granted £10,000.
Others included the Berwick & District Cancer Support Group, Cramlington’s Mind Active Charity and Bedlington’s Leading Link Charity who were each given £5000 on the night.
Julie Greener Leading Link’s manager said; “This is a very generous donation that will help us to give valuable skills to the young people of Northumberland. At the moment, we are working on a mentoring scheme that is helping vulnerable young people in the more rural parts of the county. We are very grateful to Northumberland Freemasons for the opportunity to carry on with our work.”
In addition to the 33 charities who attended the celebration event, a further 45 will receive cheques for the good work they do to help the people of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
Freemasons buildings in the Province of Northumberland can be found in:
Alnwick, Amble, Ashington, Bedlington, Bellingham, Berwick, Blyth, Byker, Cramlington, Haltwhistle, Hexham, Mickley, Morpeth, Newbiggin, Jesmond, Newcastle, North Shields, Seahouses, Seaton Delaval, Shiremoor, Throckley, Wallsend, Whitley Bay and Wylam.