The first Liverpool Group ‘giving day’ for 2020 took place at the Masonic Hall on Hope Street, with group office bearers in attendance. Chairman Mark Matthews opened the meeting and welcomed guests to the hall and thanked everyone for coming along. Mark took the opportunity to introduce Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Sam Robinson and also explained the charitable workings within Freemasonry, saying: “All the money is raised by donations by individual Masons at their lodge meetings and fund-raising events for distribution to various worthy causes.”
On the day, nine donations were given, two of which went to Masonic charities; with the remaining seven going to local organisations within the community and totalling over £4,000. Starting with the Masonic recipients, two cheques, one of £800 and the other for £500 went to the national Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) 2021 Festival.
The MCF donates over £5,000,000 each year to charities, helping 1,000s of disadvantaged and vulnerable people to live happy fulfilling lives and to participate actively in society. It also contributes towards supporting Masonic families to relieve a financial, health or family need besides awarding grants to community support and research projects. The donation to the MCF came from two sources, the first was raised at the group Christmas dinner dance and the other from the disbursement fund of the Liverpool Group. Sam Robinson presented the two cheques to group charity steward Barry Fletcher and these donations entitled Vice Patronage of the MCF 2021 Festival for the group.
Other beneficiaries from the group disbursement fund were the Seafoth Sea Cadets, represented by Lieutenant Angela Halliday, receiving £600; The Community Pantry, represented by Lynne Higgins, based in Sefton, supports homeless people by providing food banks in the area and received £300; while Rev Laura Leatherbarrow on behalf of St Cuthbert’s Church received £600 to assist with running community workshops based in Croxteth.
The annual sponsored walk which starts and finishes at the Liverpool Masonic Hall was this year overseen by Jorge Perez and funds raised on the day resulted in £300 being donated to the Friends of Tithebarn and £200 to the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund. The Tithebarn is a residential care home in Crosby owned by the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and is set in beautiful landscaped grounds and provides nursing and specialist dementia care for over 40 residents.
Over the years the ‘Friends’ have contributed to new building projects, provided mini-buses, outings, functions and facilities. The members of the ‘Friends’ are drawn from the lodges and chapters from all the groups within the Masonic Province of West Lancashire and every member is wholly enthusiastic in their committed aim of improving the quality of life for every resident of the Tithebarn. The donation was received by long-time volunteer Joe Stallard.
The eager recipient of the other ‘sponsored walk’ cheque given to the Liverpool Masonic Hall Building Fund was Dave Sayce. It is over 160 years since ‘The House in the Garden’ at 22 Hope Street, was purchased by Liverpool Freemasons with the aim of providing a central meeting venue for the lodges who were assembling at various locations throughout the city. During that time, it has been rebuilt and extended to accommodate an increased number of members and now stands proudly as the Grade II listed building its members own today.
However, like any building, it suffers from the effects of weathering and age and needs constant maintenance. For this purpose, the fund receives donations to be used only towards the upkeep of the hall, for the comfort of its members and as a legacy for the future. Dave, who insists he has not been at the hall from the beginning, said that the £200 was greatly appreciated and would go towards one of the projects underway to transform the hall for modern usage.
The Liverpool Group of Freemasons also has a thriving golf society which over many years has raised funds for many local charities. Phil Pattulo, Geoff Brown and Tommy Walsh represented the golfers and used their funds in donating to three deserving causes, Breast Mates, SMILE and Friends of Tithebarn.
Breast Mates which is based in Huyton village is a cancer support group in which members give mutual support, as it is well known that individuals do feel quite lonely when going through treatments, coping with the side effects and later trying to move on. They received a £200 donation.
SMILE is a local charity set up to support chronic pain sufferers, helping them to live their lives despite their pain and it received a donation of £150. Friends of Tithebarn, who was mentioned earlier, also received a further donation of £150 from the golf section.
Following the presentations, afternoon tea was served on the ground floor ‘Roman Dining Room’; a fitting end to a very pleasant and rewarding day, with those present gaining knowledge from the various charities on exactly what they did and how that benefited the community.