Here is a summary of the work of the Mark Benevolent Fund so far, in this, our 150th Anniversary year:
– 7 Provinces have now had their official St John Ambulance hand over and 5 more are due before the end of May. There will also be a significant event in Cardiff for the handover of the 4 Wales vehicles. I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of the Priory of Wales. The occasion was to celebrate the Centenary of the St John Priory of Wales. The enthusiasm and dedication of the trustees and volunteers for their organisation rivals our own at the Mark Benevolent Fund. The M.B.F. has donated £3.2 million to St John Ambulance to fund a combination of 52 ambulances, treatment centres and support vehicles throughout England, Wales and the Islands. Our partnership with this organisation highlights the M.B.F.’s continuing commitment to supporting projects with a wider community impact.
– Following on from the M.B.F. Charity Walk in May 2017 which raised £437,934, grants totalling £350,000 have been made to Blood Bike charities throughout England and Wales. The official Blood Bike handover will take place in August at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, full details will follow once arrangements have been finalised. So far, we have 22 cars and bikes secured to attend the event.
– The Lytham St Anne’s lifeboat naming will take place later this month. £80,000 given from the M.B.F. in conjunction with the Province of West Lancashire. The ceremony will be attended by the President of the M.B.F., Dr John Wright, RD, P.G.S.W. along with many local Mark Master Masons.
– Lawson, the new ‘Dogs for Good’ golden retriever puppy, has started his 2-year training plan. He was named in memory of R.W.Bro. Michael Lawson, P.G.S.W., an M.B.F. Trustee, who passed away in October 2017. This is the second puppy to be sponsored by the M.B.F. Our first puppy, Suzie, is now one year old and doing fine.
– Finally, the 150th Anniversary Festival, being held in Lincolnshire on Saturday, 7 July, is almost sold out. If you still wish to attend then you should hurry!
We also continue to help those Brethren, and their families, who are struggling and need a helping hand every now and again. I urge you all to look out for your fellow Brethren, whether in Lodge or during your daily activities. If you have any concerns at all don’t hesitate to have a chat with your Lodge Almoner.
As you can see we are keeping busy and making sure that we are using your donations to the M.B.F. wisely and conscientiously. As always, I thank you all for your contributions to our fantastic charity. I am sure that our founder, Revd Canon George Portal, would be as proud of our achievements today, as he was in 1868.
W.Bro. Darren Coleman-Heald, P.A.G.D.C.