For most brethren in the South Eastern Group and indeed, West Lancashire Province, Ezra McGowan and Darren Gregory need no introduction. Being members of various lodges and chapters, they work long and hard at their Masonry with charity being their prime motive.
Following the closure of the successful Food Bank at Urmston Masonic Hall, the two have rented premises from the council and have opened up a Soup Kitchen in Northenden, locally to where they live, and together with partners and volunteers are providing a place where disadvantaged local residences can go and keep warm and have a hot meal on a Monday evening.
Ezra McGowan is a member of Hand and Heart Lodge No 4109 and has in his travels, seen many situations in our city streets and in particular Manchester, Peterborough and London where people were and still are, just living in tents and makeshift cardboard box homes or just sleeping rough and destitute, many through no fault of their own.
A few years ago, Ezra, along with his brother, set up a registered charity called The Forget-Me-Not Trust (No 1164359), in order to assist those who were in dire need. Currently self-funded and assisted by donations from sources both Masonic and non-masonic, the charity also operates a website, click here to view the website.
Not satisfied with all the above, Ezra and Darren have now set up a food bank running in parallel with the Soup Kitchen. The food bank is run out of Ezra’s van which is generously stocked with food and other items and has been supporting many local residents in Northenden. This has all been greatly appreciated by all the recipients and is also promoting Freemasonry in the community.
Ezra has always stated that the people he helps come from all walks of life and backgrounds. Some have been successful businessmen fallen on hard times, others have missed mortgage payments and things have got on top of them reducing them to homelessness. It could happen to anyone.
With all this in mind, Ezra and Darren feel that it’s time to give something back to society and helping the disadvantaged, particularly in current times of ever-increasing prices for energy and food and helping the local less fortunate is a good way to do so!