ISSUE 10, July 2004
Editorial
John Pine: A sociable craftsman
Jumping for Joy: Skydiving for charity
Quarterly Communication: Speeches of: the Grand Master, the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Address of the First Grand Principal and Report of the Committee of General Purposes
Royal Arch: Cheshire gives a lead
  Walking with the greats: Bath Masonic Hall
Motoring in style: Classic Vehicle Club
Masonic education: A daily advancement and Events for your diary
Travel: Portugal
Library & Museum of Freemasonry
Charities
International: A warm welcome in Malta
Masonic ritual: Spoilt for choice
Public relations: Sheffield; Dorset; Chelsea Flower Show; Freemasons' Hall
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Since it was founded in 1990 the NMSF has met the cost of private medical treatment for over 6,000 individuals. Support has been provided to Freemasons, their wives, widows and dependants.
     Treatment has been made available at hundreds of hospitals across the country in response to an ever increasing demand. Over 500 applicants have been supported in each of the last two years. Early indications are that the figure this year will be nearer 550. At the same time as the demand increases so does the cost of meeting that demand.
     The cost of medical treatment continues to increase at a faster rate than high street inflation. Five years ago a hip replacement operation would cost, on average, £6,000. In 2004 you will be lucky to get any change from £8,000 for the same procedure.
     A similar pattern is repeated for knee replacement, £7,500 to £9,500; for cataract removal £1,800 to £2,600, and for a heart by-pass, £8,000 to £9,500. It is not surprising that many people cannot afford to fund their own private treatment.
     Despite the extra demand and increasing cost no applicant to the Fund has ever been turned away through a lack of available funds. But, a significant number do not apply because they either do not know about the support that may be available or because they do not know how to apply.
     If you, or someone you know, has an identified medical need, is faced with an unacceptable wait for the NHS and cannot afford to fund private medical care, contact the NMSF for advice. A call to 020 7404 1550 or an email to petitions@masonicsamaritan.org.uk will quickly identify if help is available.

NMSF launches envelope scheme
Following a recent clarification of Inland Revenue rules the NMSF has launched an envelope scheme enabling tax to be reclaimed on alms collections taken at Lodge, Chapter or other meetings.
     Similar schemes have been in use for many years with many charities, which have then claimed an additional 28p for every £1 donated through the Gift Aid scheme.
     Until now the central Craft charities had not been able to benefit from such a scheme as Inland Revenue rules required a member of the charity to be present when the envelopes were opened.
     With Masonic meeting places spread across the length and breadth of the country, and only 11 staff, the NMSF was unable to benefit from the potential extra income available from the tax man.
     Written confirmation has now been received from the Inland Revenue that an officer of the Lodge is able to act as an agent of the Fund, with the result that all qualifying donations made via the scheme will be eligible for an extra 28% from the tax man! The value of your donation is increased for the benefit of NMSF and at no cost to you.
     The NMSF will supply envelopes, free of charge, as and when required. They will be accompanied by guidance notes to ensure that all the conditions set by the Inland Revenue are fully met.
     If you would like to make your alms collection go even further, a call to the NMSF on 020 7404 1550 is all that is needed.

THE GRAND CHARITY

Relief Chest Scheme The Grand Charity Relief Chest Scheme was launched in 1986 and offers individual accounts – “Relief Chests” – which can be used to accumulate funds for charitable purposes by a Lodge, Chapter, Province or other Masonic organisation.
     The Grand Charity, on behalf of the Lodge or other Masonic organisation, holds the money. The Lodge etc., however, retains control over the disposal of money.
     They should use these funds to make regular donations to any Masonic or non- Masonic charity or to an individual (e.g. a Lodge member or the widow of a member) who is in need. In 2003 more than £4.5m of charitable donations were made from the Relief Chest.
     A Relief Chest can be opened quickly and easily following a resolution passed in open Lodge, for which a Notice of Motion is not essential (subject to the practice of the Lodge). There are currently more than 3,600 individual Relief Chests in the Scheme. The benefits of a Relief Chest account include:

— A favourable interest rate earned on the money in each account, because the money from all accounts is pooled and the interest rate based on this total sum.
— Tax Relief obtained on all eligible donations made by UK tax payers under Gift Aid, currently 28p for every £1 donated to charity, claimed by the Grand Charity on behalf of the individual Chests and credited to the individual Chest.
— Ease of depositing – contributions can be made into the Relief Chest by direct debit or a single payment.
— Ease of donating to charities – the Relief Chest representative simply authorises a cheque to be drawn, which is then sent to the charity.
— No direct cost to Relief Chest holders.

The Relief Chest Scheme was set up to help the Craft give to charity, easily and tax-effectively. In 2003 over £6.5m was deposited into the Relief Chest Fund by Freemasons. A further £500,000 was added as a result of tax relief gained under Gift Aid and the Relief Chest Fund generated over £1m in interest earnings.
     The current reserves of £25.4m will enable the Relief Chest holders to make many thousands of charitable donations, each bringing much needed support to those in need, and providing opportunities for raising awareness about the charitable giving of Freemasons.
     For more information about opening a Relief Chest account, contact the Scheme Office on 020 7395 9246/9361.




GRAND CHARITY GRANTS
The Grand Charity has produced three publicity leaflets describing grants made in 2003
    — Masonic grants
    — Charitable grants
    — Hospice grants
A few leaflets have been sent to each Provincial Grand Lodge.
Please contact the Grand Charity on 020 7395 9261 for additional copies of the leaflets for distribution and use at public events.