Preston Group 2021 Festival Presentation

David Winder accompanied by the Preston Group chairman Steve Bolton and supported by the Provincial charity steward, Phil Preston and Preston group charity steward Vic Parker made a presentation regarding the forthcoming West Lancashire 2021 Festival.

The presentation was open to all interested parties but was mainly aimed at lodge and chapter charity stewards and appointed Festival representatives.

From left to right: David Winder, Steve Bolton, Phil Preston, Vic Parker

From left to right: David Winder, Steve Bolton, Phil Preston, Vic Parker

David commenced his presentation with an overview of the evenings proceedings suitably reinforced by the Group Vice-Chairman, Geoff Saul, operating the supporting PowerPoint display. 

He reminded the brethren that the Festival was in support of the new Masonic Charity Foundation (MCF) that is the overarching Masonic charity covering the needs of the four existing nationwide charities, namely: The Freemasons Grand Charity, The Royal Masonic Charity for Girls and Boys, The Masonic Samaritan Fund and the Masonic Benevolent Institution.

David commenced his presentation with an overview of the evenings proceedings suitably reinforced by the Group Vice-Chairman, Geoff Saul, operating the supporting PowerPoint display. 

He reminded the brethren that the Festival was in support of the new Masonic Charity Foundation (MCF) that is the overarching Masonic charity covering the needs of the four existing nationwide charities, namely: The Freemasons Grand Charity, The Royal Masonic Charity for Girls and Boys, The Masonic Samaritan Fund and the Masonic Benevolent Institution.

In discussing the duration of the Festival, David said, the decision had been taken to limit the Festival to four years to coincide with the impetus of 300 year celebrations of Grand Lodge. He noted it was the first Festival that, through the MCF, could support all the Masonic charities. It was the first time a Province had been allowed to use its coat of arms on the Festival celebration jewel, a jewel that all the brethren can wear with pride.

 Returning to the 300 year celebrations, David reminded the brethren that the 300 year celebrations are totally separate events independent of the Festival. However, the celebrations can be used as a means of generating donations to the Festival. Indeed, the Provincial Grand Master had suggested that monies accrued from 300 year events be donated to the West Lancashire 2021 MCF Festival. Such cheques should be made out the ‘Freemasons Grand Charity’ and accompanied by the ‘Miscellaneous’ form clearly stating the donation to be deposited in the Province of West Lancashire 2021 MCF Festival Account.

 In terms of personal donations to the Festival, David informed the brethren that the usual arrangement of payment by direct debit over, in this case, the four-year period would be available. He also clarified that all direct debit payments would cease at the end of the Festival meaning that brethren who adopt this method of payment part way through the Festival, would have to adjust their level of agreed monthly donation to achieve their target within the remaining time.

David passes the information to the attending brethren

David passes the information to the attending brethren

As an alternative, a donation can be made as a single payment and to further swell the funds, the “White Envelope” scheme can be used to make further donations via the usual lodge/chapter meeting charity collections. It was worthy of particular note that donations using the white envelope would be for the first time attributable to an individual’s patronage of the festival. Those brethren who pay tax will be able to “Gift Aid” their contributions, thus increasing their donation to the Festival at no cost to themselves. 

David concluded his presentation by explaining the actual donation procedure using examples of the appropriate forms, copies of which, being projected on the PowerPoint screen. Finally, he notified the brethren that every member of the Province would, in due course, receive a copy of the launch brochure via their lodge/chapter charity steward or Festival representative. 

There then followed a healthy question and answer session where questions ranged from, “How can you check where you are with patronage of the Festival?” to concerns regarding the effect of reduced contributions to the Provinces own West Lancashire Freemasons Charity. 

The evening ended with Steve Bolton thanking the brethren for their attendance and David Winder for his clear and informative presentation. It was a presentation that everyone thought constructive and very helpful in enabling them to pass on the message to the members of their lodges and chapters.