Tuesday, 10 June 2014

10th June 2014 - Mark Well and Worthwhile Charity..

Thought for the day: " The difference between Pizza and your opinion? I asked for a pizza!"

Many people are opinionated regarding things that they know little about. They are entitled to their opinion of course, but I feel that it is appropriate to ignore them if they decide to voice them.

Freemasonry has always polarised people. whether it is a Secret Society, or a Society with Secrets borders on tautology these days, and is simply irrelevant in the modern world. A quarter of a million gentlemen across the country enjoy the Fraternity as well as many women in their own similar organisation. There have been faults in the past no doubt, but more recent years have attempted to stamp out some of the misconceptions. All the "secrets" of Freemasonry are well documented and plastered over the web and various Wiki's, but still provide plenty of opportunity for the Dan Brown's of this world to make a bob or two. And good luck to them (I enjoy a good fictional romp as much as the next person)

But Freemasonry in general, and Mark Masonry in Particular...have provided a huge contribution to society across the world, and in this country - particularly in the area of Charitable giving. I was very proud in the Millennium  year 2000, to be partially responsible for placing a St John's Ambulance in every county in the country - from donations made up only from within the organisation of Mark Masons. I saw no real publicity, and to be honest I do not think any of us craved that recognition. We did it because we could and it was right...

Today, I travelled up to Freemason's Hall in Great Queen Street. The hub of all Masonic Secrets (open to the public daily free, with guided tours!). It is a lovely Art Deco building just around the corner from Holborn Tube Station.
It has over recent years been used for more than Masonic business, in fact it is proving a useful venue for films and other exhibitions. Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (the film), had many glimpses of the interior,
and recently it has been the venue for things that would make some of the more traditional masons blush..  such as this fashion show...including full frontal nudity - such is modern fashion!

However, the more traditional view of the interior that can be seen on any meeting or guided tour is of an impressive interior, which today held 2,700 Mark Masons - though in fairness some were sitting in the overflow lodge rooms watching on close circuit TV. 
On this, the annual investiture, the head of the order, Prince Michael of Kent was officiating, as he installed and invested the Pro Grand Master, his Deputy and Assistant, and the active and past Grand officers for 2014....  of which No 351 of 450 was yours truly....
So, once we had finished and I had kicked the Prince out for his well needed refreshments, after all he had to shake hands 450 times with a smile on his face... I managed a quick photo in the Grand Temple..

That was all quite impressive and the regalia fitted fine.. but that was not what really impressed me.

No, the address by the head of the Masonic Order of Mark Masons of England and Wales and its Districts and Lodges overseas, made an announcement which made me feel as proud as I did back in 2000.

There is an independent charity called Hope for Tomorrow... Have a look yourself at their link http://www.hopefortomorrow.org.uk/  As with all the best charities, the idea is simple and the concept wonderful. Cancer patients require regular treatment, and particularly in rural areas, that can mean a lot of travelling, waiting, inconvenience for patient and family or carer, at a time when they are feeling at their lowest....  Hope for Tomorrow provided the concept and then the funding for a mobile Chemotherapy Unity that could travel to communities and treat a number of patients in their own area, or even by their home. 

The website states:
"Hope for Tomorrow is a national cancer charity dedicated to bringing cancer treatment closer to patients’ homes. Our Mobile Chemotherapy Units effectively reduce the long distances of travel and waiting times for treatment that patient’s often endure, and also help them to avoid the stresses and strains of busy Oncology Centres."

The Mark Masons in Dorset and Isle of White adopted this Charity, and with matched funding raised the resources to provide an additional vehicle for the Charity to run. It is able to be conducted under the national Health for the specialists and Nurses, but they cost £260,000 each to provide, and run for three years, owned and maintained by the Charity... At that time there were six vehicles in existence. Dorset provided the seventh, and the charity now has a total of eight vehicles owned and maintained, as well as a fleet of nurse support vehicles to allow easy access for nurses.

So why was I feeling proud??  Well, the main part of the day included an announcement that the Mark Benevolent Fund (the charity money that we provide as Mark Masons) has donated £2.6 million, so that the Charity can build and run an additional 10 vehicles, and that is for starters...  The indication is that once again the intention may be to provide one for every medical area in the country.

So I had a good day, enjoyed my brief hand shake with the Grand Master, doubt if he will remember me - though there were only two recipients sporting full pony tail, and I declined to stop for the £48 meal afterwards as it was a long journey home..  but one of my Masonic Secrets is the work we are doing to ease the lives of some in the future - Shhh!!!  Don't tell anyone !!

Enjoying a nice glass of scotch - Cheers !!

Place of the day

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