2019 Festival Appeal in aid of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution

The Provincial Grand Master the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent launched the 2019 Festival Appeal in aid of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution at the Grand Officers Mess on 5th February 2014 at Surbiton with a record number of Grand Officers in attendance. This was followed by a total of 580 Brethren, Companions and partners gathering at the Open Launches at Croydon, Surbiton and Guildford on 25th, 26th and 27th February. 214 Lodges and 66 Chapters were represented. In addition 2 Charity Steward Festival Workshops were conducted on 19th and 20th March where a total of 112 Lodge and Chapter Charity Stewards focused their time on an interactive session on the detail of the RMBI, how to donate and completing the necessary forms for Stewardship and jewel purchase. And finally, to cover all bases 5 Charity Steward Surgeries were held in late March/early April to meet Charity Stewards unable to be present at any of the above.

Such is the anticipation and support for this Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. Our Most Excellent Grand Superintendent has set us the challenge of raising £3.25M. To achieve this target we will need to unite with the Craft and as a Province, give focus to the Appeal and have some fun on the way.

The Festival is all about being ‘Committed to Caring’. The RMBI provide the best care for our most vulnerable of Companions and their dependents. This includes nursing, residential, dementia and respite care. We are being asked to commit to supporting the Festival. We can demonstrate that commitment by becoming a Steward of the Festival and buying a Festival Jewel. Many of the Companions will become a Steward through their Surrey Lodges. If however they are not a member of a Surrey Lodge they can become a Steward through their Surrey Chapter. Stewardship costs a minimum donation of £150, which can be paid via a regular promise to pay, this equates to just £2.50 a month over the life of the Festival of 5 years. Should they wish they can also become a Vice-Patron £300, a Patron £600 and a Grand Patron £1,200. If they are interested in becoming a Festival Steward they will need to let their Chapter Charity Steward, Charity Liaison Officer or Provincial Grand Charity Steward know to make the necessary arrangements. Alternatively they can do this themselves, online via www.surreypillars.org.uk by clicking on the ‘Festival’ tab. Once you qualify as a Festival Steward you can then purchase the jewel for £24.

Another way of how a Chapter may wish to support the Festival is to donate the proceeds of say, one collection/raffle per year or organise a fundraising event.

Chapter Achievement Awards have been introduced as a way of saying well done for the extra effort made via their Chapters. These are awarded on an average per member basis. Bronze - £25 per member, Silver - £50 per member and Gold - £100 per member. The award will be in the form of a small jewel which is clipped to the Charity Stewards Collar.

Here are a few facts and figures about the RMBI.
It has 17 homes housing approximately 1100 residents. The average age of residents is 88 and there are 20-30 centenarians. We are lucky to have 2 homes in Surrey and both hold open events. James Terry Court and Shannon Court organise these each summer. Please go along and enjoy the stalls and entertainment while seeing first hand what an RMBI home is like.

Both of the Surrey homes have had extensive building work carried out, totalling £14M in capital investment. Both also have large maintenance budgets to ensure the highest standards are maintained. In 2013, the RMBI gave £560k in grants to Surrey; collectively the Central Masonic Charities gave £950k. To put things in perspective over the course of a festival once every 11 years, Surrey will have received about £10M in grants!

For further details on the RMBI and the 2019 Festival Appeal please visit the website www.surreypillars.org.uk and click on the ‘Festival’ tab. The website is also packed with the latest news on provincial events and how to get involved.

Please support the 2019 Festival Appeal in aid of the RMBI and have fun!

E Comp Mark Watkins
Provincial Grand Charity Steward

E-mail m.watkins355@btinternet.com
Telephone: 01264 313336
Mobile: 07990 857556