The Brethren of Pen & Brush Lodge No 2909 thought long and hard on how they could help the coronavirus situation. Their average age being well over 65, and the majority in "lock down", it was determined that their response would have to be financial.
WM Peter Kendall, PAGSwdB "volunteered" the Charity Steward to dedicate his Master's List to Covid-19, setting an ambitious target of £20,000.
Following an initial intensive discussion between the Brethren, a plethora of ideas and suggestions of the way in which to use any money raised emerged.
The predominant theme running through the suggestions received was to reward the courageous, brave and selfless individuals on the hazardous, life threatening front line. The basic criterion for selection was agreed as "front line" hospital nurses, care home nurses/carers and ambulance crews in the localities of the members' homes.
Through local distribution, the Brethren hoped to spread the word that Freemasonry is a caring society who not only considered themselves, but the whole community at large.
A plan of action was approved to say thank you to the individuals by distributing vouchers for weekend breaks in hotels countrywide.
With gentle persuasion and the Brethren's usual generosity, the target quickly moved from a hopeful ambition to reality. It in fact it exceeded reality with a final sum of £26,250 raised by the Lodge!
The priority then switched from collecting money to its distribution which proved much harder than anticipated. Several hotel groups with countrywide establishments were contacted regarding purchasing vouchers; however none were prepared to help!!
Further discussions took place among the Brethren and it was finally agreed that the solution was to distribute cash/cheques. Printed cards were procured to accompany all donations. Finally they were ready to effect the distribution which was carried out with the help of all the Brethren.
THESE INCLUDED :
1. £2,000 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation coronavirus appeal which was matched by the MCF for a further £2,000 which with gift aid totalled £4500.
2. £6,250 to the London Ambulance Service fund for the welfare of vehicle crews.
3. £2,500 to RMBI specifically to be ring fenced for the James Terry Court Home Manager's Amenity Fund and used towards a staff party being arranged as a thank you for the front line support.
4. £2,500 to UCLH London Nurses Charity which is used specifically for the welfare of the Hospital's nursing staff.
5. £3,750 to Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospitals London Coronavirus Appeal for the Nurses and staff's well-being.
6. £1,250 to the Bay Hospitals Charity in Morecambe who have supported one of the worst areas for coronavirus.
7. £1,250 to The Care Workers Emergency Covid-19 appeal Fund.
8. £1,000 to each to 3 Care homes supporting their Staff Amenity/Welfare funds.
9. £1000 to Royal Surrey County Hospital Coronavirus Emergency Appeal for front line staff welfare.
WM Peter Kendall says to the Brethren of Pen and Brush Lodge: “I am overwhelmed but not surprised with your extremely generous response in firstly achieving my ambitious target and then, by the use of matching donations and Gift aid, raising the bar to the extraordinary sum of £26,250!”
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 41 July 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 41.