As 2017 draws to a close and Northumberland Freemasons mark the end of the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England, the organisation has given away £600,000 to local and national charities.
Tritlington farmer, Ian Craigs, the Provincial Grand Master of Northumberland, explained that this year, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland has given away £300,000 to local charities to boost worthwhile and deserving projects throughout the region.
“In this special year, we’ve donated money to charities close to each of our 27 lodge buildings across North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland so that we can really make a positive impact on local projects and causes near to where Masonry takes place,” he said.
“Our donations were all chosen by our members and the money has helped the charities concerned carry on their work locally within the community.”
In total, 78 charities received cheques for the good work they do to help the people of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
In addition, at the Province’s annual general meeting in November, a cheque for a further £300,000 was given to the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
A range of diverse activities have taken place to mark the 300th anniversary, but one of Mr Craig’s favourite events was a Teddy Bears’ Picnic held at The Alnwick Garden in the summer.
The initiative, hosted by Masonic charity, Teddies for Loving Care (TLC), saw more than 200 children from schools in from across Northumberland and Newcastle, enjoy a teddy-bear trail, a picnic box, entertainment by colourful fairy-tale characters and, of course, the obligatory teddy bear which was given to every child.
Mr Craigs said: “The picnic was a lovely event and highlighted the work that the TLC does to help children when they are experiencing trauma in their lives.”