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Whenever Mark Masonry is mentioned people invariably state it is the “Friendly Degree”.
The Mark Degree is friendly in many ways not only in it’s welcome to both new and existing brethren but also its willingness to aid those, members or not, who are less fortunate than ourselves whether through illness or other misfortune.
In the Mark Province of Monmouthshire, which has some 475 members, there are two funds setup for the purpose of charity.
They are the Benevolent Fund and the Discretionary Fund.
Both these funds are supported by monies raised in the temple or with raffle collections by members. They differ, however, in their granting and administration.
The money collected for this fund is forwarded to Grand Lodge in London. Grand Lodge in turn support far larger appeals by organisations. For example: the Red Cross in times of disaster.
The purchasing of 12 (twelve) vehicles containing Chemotherapy units and support vehicles for distribution throughout the Country.
Fifty-two (52) ambulances again for distribution throughout the country for use by the St John’s Ambulance Brigade.
Motor Bikes to convey blood necessary for operations etc and other such worthy causes.
Brethren and Lodges who contribute to the Benevolent Fund receive a small collarette as thanks for their contributions. There are four types of collarettes issued. Vice-Patron, Patron, Grand Patron, Grand Gold Patron Award.
These are presented at various stages depending on the amount donated. The Vice-Patron, Patron and Grand Patron whenever possible are presented at the lodge installation meetings.
The Grand Patron Gold award is presented to a brother or a lodge having reached the sum of £2,500-00p. This award is presented again whenever possible at the Annual Provincial Meeting. Within the last four (4) years £120,000 has been forwarded to London from Monmouthshire Mark Masons Benevolent Fund.
Monmouthshire Mark Masons are proud to record that twenty-five brethren and seven lodges hold the highest award for donations. There are also many Vice Patron, Patron and Grand Patrons collarettes issued to members and lodges in the Province. Add to these, nine ladies being presented with Vice Patrons brooches for their donations, proves the generosity and willingness of brethren and ladies in the Province to support charity.
This fund is again supported by donations from brethren and lodges.
It is used to support appeals from small local organisations within the Province. Each year the Discretionary Fund grants of £10,000 to assist local appeals, brethren or their widows in times of difficulties or distress.
These organisations can be, projects in local Schools, Scout groups, Cadet groups, Brass Band or individual cases.
In Monmouthshire we support the National TLC project. Teddy Bears for living care. This project places Teddy Bears in the Accident and Emergency Department of a local hospital. The purpose being, to help comfort distressed children, by giving them a small Teddy Bear to keep whilst attending the unit following an accident.
Other organisations which have received help are:
Dreams and Wishes
Tree of Hope
Noah’s Ark Appeal including training in the use of defibrillators
Friends of the Heart appeal
Breast Cancer Wales
Ty Hafan children's Hospice
Llwynypia Hospital helping to purchase special chairs for stroke victims.
The above are but a few of the causes which the Discretionary Fund has supported throughout the years. The support of these projects by the Discretionary Fund can only be fulfilled by the generosity of brethren and their lodges.
We believe and practice in Monmouthshire Mark Masonry;
“It’s not what you give, it’s the fact that you give”.
The amount a brother donates to either fund can be a large or small it is for the brother to decide. No amount is too small. The only thing we ask is that a brother gives what he can comfortably afford, be it on a monthly or yearly basis, and is able to maintain that donation for as long as possible.
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