The Grand Charity|
A year of achievement
Raymond Lye, President of the Grand Charity, outlines the main areas of the Charity's annual report and accounts
Photo: David Peabody
Raymond Lye - praise for the generous efforts of individual Masons
The year to November 2003 marked a period of significant
achievement for the Grand Charity, with several important
highlights, particularly in the area of communication.
The income for the year included the proceeds of the 2003
Festival held by the Province of Dorset, which raised over£1.2m.
This is a splendid achievement for a small Province of 49 Lodges.
A major objective of the Grand Charity is to provide
financial relief to distressed Masons and their dependants.
I am delighted that, in real terms, these grants have shown a
substantial increase compared with the previous year.
The majority of this relates to the assumption of the responsibility
for financial grants, for new cases, that are no longer
paid by the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution.
However, the close co-operation between the Masonic
Relief Grants Committee and Provincial Almoners, supported
by the excellent efforts of Lodge Almoners throughout
the Craft, has resulted in an increase in the number of applications
This increased awareness is most important, for it is the
responsibility of every Mason to ensure that cases of need are
uncovered, to enable help to be provided through the Grand
Charity Masonic Relief Grants.
Although the level of non-Masonic giving has declined, a
major grant of £1 million has been provided for the Institute
of Cancer Research, the world leader in cancer genetics. This
grant will fund a chair for a period of ten years, for the head of
a research group that has already identified 14 new cancer genes.
The work funded by the Grand Charity seeks to identify
the genes that are important in prostate and testicular cancer,
diseases that each year strike approximately 27,000 new victims,
with more than 10,000 fatalities annually.
The major allocation of funds is supported by the numerous
smaller grants, each of which will enable a research or welfare
project to provide benefits to Masons and non-Masons alike.
In addition, the Grand Charity has continued its support for
hospices, with grants totalling £500,000 in the year.
A welcome feature of the accounts is the gain on investments
of £930,000, which starts to recover some of the value
that has been lost over the past three years.
The Grand Charity Road Shows, introduced last year, have
been held in over 30 Provinces across England and Wales. I
am grateful to everybody who has helped in the organisation
of these events, which have promoted a wider understanding
of the work of the Grand Charity, as well as an extremely
useful feedback of the views of members.
I am grateful to the members of the Council and the
executive staff for their unstinting efforts to bring to the Craft
the highest quality of service from the Grand Charity. I also
remain deeply indebted to the generosity of individual
Masons, without whose support the work of the Charity
would not be possible.