Report by the Chairman of the 2017 Festival to Provincial Grand Lodge 29 May 2013
R. W. Provincial Grand Master, distinguished guests and brethren all,
It is now slightly over 12 months since we launched the 2017 Festival in favour of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution. As I hope you all know the RMBI provides care for elderly people, most of whom have Masonic connections, and the funds that we raise through this Festival go specifically to helping those whose funds have become depleted to remain in their RMBI home. Without this support those elderly people would undoubtedly have to move at probably the most vulnerable time in their lives.
To set this into context brethren those with Masonic connections to this Province receive over £160k per year in funding support from RMBI charitable funds. Assuming this remains constant over the coming years, and given the age profile of our society that is almost certain not to be the case, our brethren and their ladies will require £6.75m of support before this Province is again asked to go into Festival for the RMBI.
Like you brethren I await with keen interest the announcement later today from our Provincial Grand Master of the amount raised in this first year of our Festival but I can now report some positive information about your efforts on behalf of the RMBI.
Brethren during our first month in Festival almost 40 of you achieved Steward status. During the last full month of our first year this figure had risen to over 130 giving a total of just over 1,000 Stewards in our first year. This represents nearly 15% of our membership and, if that rate continues across the remaining 4 years we will have almost three quarters of members having achieved Steward status. This would be a magnificent achievement.
For anyone who is unclear Steward status is conferred after £100 has been donated to the Festival. At less than 40 pence per week over the course of the Festival this is an achievement within the reach of all members.
Sale of Festival merchandise has made an important contribution to our fund-raising and I want to thank Yorkshire West Riding Masonic Activities Ltd for all their work developing and marketing this merchandise. Brethren they have sales points both in this hall and at the Majestic Hotel and I am pleased to announce that today they have for sale our new ladies Jewel. Please do take time to have a look at what’s available today.
You will recall brethren that when I addressed you a year ago I emphasised that one of the key objectives of the Festival was to encourage you to have fun and I am delighted to say that this objective has been embraced by many Lodges and brethren organising events to raise funds.
So far 13 Lodges have achieved Vice Patron Status, 14 are Patrons and 3 have already become Grand Patrons.
These are achievements to be proud of and demonstrate the enormous generosity of the brethren of this Province. As we settle into this Festival we need to continue these efforts.
You will have seen from the summons for this meeting that we have a Summer Ball scheduled to take place in just over a month in Leeds. Time is now tight but there are still spaces so please think about whether you could support this event and if you can please fill in the booking form with your summons.
I am also delighted to advise that under the leadership of W. Bro Martin Bolt a small sub committee is now busily engaged on organising a cycling event that will involve Masonic centres and brethren all across the Province. This will be timed to coincide with start of the Tour de France in July next year here in this Province! We hope there will be an opportunity for you all to get involved, have fun, get a bit fitter and raise funds for the Festival.
And to prove that we are thinking ahead brethren we are in advanced discussions to make a provisional booking for our Festival Banquet, probably in September 2017, to host up to 1200 members and wives/partners/guests. This will be an unforgettable event open to all brethren who qualify as Festival Stewards and a guest and we hope to publish provisional details later this year.
Brethren I have to conclude with a few words of thanks:
- Thank you to all the members of the Festival Organising Committee for their time and efforts.
- Thank you to the 5 Area Festival Managers and their Charity Assistants for their magnificent efforts to harness local enthusiasm
- Thank you to colleagues in West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd for their management of funds that have been raised
- Thanks to you, Provincial Grand Master and to all the Rulers for your unstinting support and encouragement
But above all, thanks to you brethren for your energy, enthusiasm and generosity.