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Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Surrey
Annual Report of the Provincial Grand Charity Steward

Brethren, welcome to my first Overseer update as your Provincial Grand Charity Steward. For those that don’t know me, I am a member of Noel Mark Lodge, 505, meeting in Surbiton. I was appointed a Provincial Grand Steward prior to going through the chair, which was a great honour. I am also a member of the Stewards Lodge, Installed Mark Masters and have just signed up to be a member of Knightsbridge Lodge. I am an Official visitor in the Craft and Royal Arch and the Provincial Warden of Regalia in Knights Templar.

I am well supported in the Mark by having a team of Group Charity Representatives out and about in the various Centres in the Province. W.Bro. Mark Donovan (Sutton); W.Bro. Alan Whiddett (Croydon); W.Bro. Steve Guzy (Nutfield); W.Bro. Andy Fox (Surbiton); W.Bro. Stuart de Fraine Ford (Croydon); W.Bro. Bernie Greenwood (Croydon) and W.Bro. Eddie Mulqueen, ProvAsstGChStwd. We are all here to help you, your Secretaries and Charity Stewards and are in regular contact with them.

The 2022 MBF Festival update will be covered elsewhere, so here are a couple of items of interest from me. Having successfully supported the most recent phase of the MBF charitable initiative, the Hope for Tomorrow mobile Chemotherapy units, in fact you may have even seen the one delivered to the Royal Marsden, we now move into the next phase. This is the MBF’s commitment to support the renewal of the St John Ambulance fleet, which has reached the end of its working life. The pledge is £3,000,000 over the next two years and as one of the Provinces in Festival during these two years it is incumbent on us to lead the way in contributing.

Many of us will take the organisation for granted, what you might not realise is that many events that are integral to our social life would not take place were it not for St John Ambulance being on hand to provide First Aid cover. Their covering events from football internationals to the fete in a farmers field enables the main front line “999” responders to maintain their status of readiness for whatever large or small scale emergency may arise. So the next time you see a St John Ambulance you will have a real understanding of what they do and we are able to ensure they are properly equipped for the next generation. We should always be mindful of the very personal calls placed on the MBF’s funds by our own Provincial Grand Almoner, which we will never hear about. Without continued funding these individual responses cannot be made. God forbid that any of us have recourse to require them, but should we do so, it’s vital there is funding in place.

St. John Ambulance can date its origins to the Crusades; one particular Crusade of mine is to Relief Chests. There are many myths and legends surrounding Relief Chests, some dating back to the Crusades! They are easy to set up, they operate exactly how a Craft or Royal Arch chest operates, that is out of Freemasons Hall, it’s the same paperwork, the same process. Why would every Lodge not want to take advantage of the Treasury giving you back 25%? The Relief Chest website is quick and easy to use, gift aid envelopes are readily available to order, otherwise I have thousands of them in my garage! If any Charity Steward or Treasurer thinks it is hard work and onerous, it is not and I and any of the Group Charity Reps would be happy to walk you through the website.

The Provincial Grand Master is acutely mindful of the calls upon your charity with the Surrey Craft Festival. On his behalf, thank you for what you have done and thank you for your continued support.

I and the team look forward to visiting as many Lodges as we can and we are here to help you, just ask!

Steve Jones
Provincial Grand Charity Steward