The members of South Fylde Group of lodges and chapters was pleased to welcome the Deputy Mayor of Fylde and consort Councillor Karen Henshaw and Councillor Howard Henshaw to their record breaking fifth ‘Giving Day’ at the Palace in St Anne’s. The first two records set were an attendance of 90 people and 35 charities setting up and sharing stalls to demonstrate how they distribute the money donated. A sum of just short of £40,000 raised by South Fylde Group members finalised the list of this year’s successes.
Among those representing the group were Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Winder, Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals David Randerson, group chairman Ian Ward, regional charity steward Ted Rhodes and group charity steward Dave McKee
Dave McKee explained that each charity being supported had the opportunity to send a representative to report on how they dispersed the funds donated to them and explain exactly what their organisation’s aims were. Most of the charities had also taken the option of setting up a stall with posters to look at and explanatory pamphlets to distribute. Representatives and recipients were on hand to show the good work being done by their respective charities. The Guide Dogs for the Blind even brought along several beneficiaries with their dogs to explain the benefits they enjoyed and demonstrate how their dogs became their ‘eyes’.
Cancer research, along with cancer treatment and relief, accounted for well over £5,000 of the grand total. Trinity Hospice, Brian House, Cancer Research and the Rosemere Foundation being examples of national and local cancer groups benefitting from donations. Other organisations involved in the research and care of various ailments, such as MIND, MENCAP, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis Charity, Alzheimer’s Society and the Parkinson’s Society were among such organisations sharing sums amounting to over £4,000. Nearly £500 was donated to Blue Sky that provides support for several medical units, including Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Children were also well represented with cheques presented to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, Donna’s Dream House, Brian House as mentioned above, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, Thornton Primary School and Fylde Scouts.
Complimentary refreshments were supplied to all attendees, with visitors being shown around the building. This provided the opportunity for non-Masons to see how the Palace was becoming more of a community asset, as it is now being offered for use to local clubs and organisations. The efforts of the Palace and Poulton-le-Fylde Masonic Hall were supported by donations which jointly amounted to £6,500.
The money donated was accumulated by a combination of funds collected from lodge meetings, raffles, social and sporting events. One recent event involving group members was a joint cycle ride and walk around the Preston Guild Wheel which raised £1,297 out of a total of over £18,000 donated to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. This event was an example of sports enthusiasts using their hobby to raise money for a plethora of charities.
The pride of South Fylde members on this wonderful occasion was aptly voiced by David Winder when he said: “This ‘Giving Day’ was so successful; an accolade to the Masons of the group. It is the epitome of the charitable core that forms the foundation stone of Freemasonry itself. It was a gratifying and humbling experience to know that as Masons and members of the local community we were able to help the just and worthy causes represented here today.”
Dave McKee added: “It was a great day and I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of hard work but the success of this event has made it all worthwhile.”