The Provincial Grand Lodge of Northumberland has given away £300,000 to local charities to boost worthwhile and deserving projects throughout the region.

St. James Park Tercentenary Celebration

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.

Our donations were all chosen by our members and the money has helped the charities concerned carry on their work locally within the community.

Provincial Grand Master Ian Craigs

Charities bene ting from donations included the Hextol Foundation in Hexham, Morpeth’s Mustard Tree Trust and Forest Hall based Percy Hedley Foundation who were each granted £10,000.

Others included the Berwick & District Cancer Support Group, Cramlington’s Mind Active Charity and Bedlington’s Leading Link Charity who were each given £5000.

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 so that their work helping people nationally and internationally could be supported.

Very often, the general public don’t know about our charitable donations and we’re now encouraging charities to talk to us as we may be able to help them, Freemasonry has a terrific amount to offer in today’s society and this year we’ve enjoyed many diverse activities in Northumberland and Tyneside to mark our 300th anniversary including a Classic Car and Bike show, a Celebration Dinner held at St James’ Park and a Multi-Faith Ceremony attended by Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland.

Provincial Grand Master Ian Craigs

One of the memorable events of the Tercentenary celebrations was a  Teddy Bears Picnic held at Alnwick Gardens in the summer.

The initiative hosted by Masonic Charity, Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) saw more than 200 children from schools in Newcastle, Morpeth, Berwick, Hexham, Alnwick and Cramlington 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.

Freemasons have donated more than two million teddy bears to children who attend hospitals and A&E units. Medical staff use the bears to befriend the children, to reward them for being brave and in some cases to demonstrate what they are going to do.

It’s been a fantastic year for our freemasons from the Tyne to the Tweed and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the community which has made a positive impact on so many people who need our help.

Provincial Grand Master Ian Craigs

Our Tercentenary celebrations were featured in February's 2018 edition of Northern Insight magazine, you can see the article and full issue here.