ISSUE 12, January 2005

Editorial
Kitchener of Khartoum: Mason extraordinary
Travel: Where east meets west
Veteran Honoured: Old soldier remembered
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part 1
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro First Grand Principal and, Report of the Committee of General Purposes
  Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London: London's first consecration
Soccer: Man in the Middle
Wales: Joseph Parry - flawed genius?
Library & Museum: Donations gather pace
Education: Dates for your diary and, Planning a 'white table' and, Looking to the future and, Time marches on
Grand Charity: General meeting and non-Masonic grant list
Masonic Charities: Reports from the four main charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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    NMSF AGM 2005
Following the success of the meetings hosted by Bedfordshire in 2003 and Hampshire and Isle of Wight in 2004, the 2005 Annual General meeting (AGM) of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund (NMSF) will again be hosted by a Province which is in Festival to the Fund.
     The Provincial Grand Master for Gloucestershire, RW Bro. Peter A Marsh, has generously offered to host the 2005 AGM on Tuesday, 15th March at the Masonic Hall, Venn's Acre, Wotton-under-Edge.
     As well as undertaking the formal business of the AGM, the meeting will provide an opportunity to learn about the continuing work of the NMSF as well as the chance to meet Board members and staff.
     Further details, including a copy of the agenda and voting forms, are available from the Fund on 020 7404 1550 or via the website on www.nmsf.org.

Retrospective Applications
A number of recent applications to the NMSF have highlighted the need to clarify the policy on retrospective applications. The stated and well-publicised policy of the Fund remains that applications received after treatment has taken place will not be considered for support.
     This policy has been retained in order to protect the charitable funds available and to ensure that all applications received are processed in an appropriate sequence.
     Having accepted that the rigid enforcement of this policy might, in a small number of cases, cause genuine hardship, the Petitions Committee of the Fund has been willing to consider cases where exceptional circumstances have given rise to their retrospective submission. However, it now appears that this apparent relaxation of policy is causing confusion and resulting in a significant rise in the number of retrospective applications being received.
     Any applicant to the NMSF must first have an identified medical need for treatment or surgery that is approved by the NHS. If the NHS is unable to deliver within an acceptable timeframe, an application to the NMSF may be appropriate.
     An applicant must first have seen their GP and have been referred on to a consultant. This referral should be to an NHS consultant so that the applicant is fed into the NHS system without any further delay.
     Some applicants, when faced with a long wait to see their NHS consultant, opt instead to pay the relatively low cost of a private consultation in order to speed up the process.
     It is, however, essential that GPs are asked to continue the referral on the NHS even if the applicant intends to seek a private consultation. If an application is made to the Fund, which may take several weeks to process, and is ultimately unsuccessful, an applicant who has not been referred via the NHS will be disadvantaged, as the time delay will have seen no progression up the NHS waiting list.
     This double approach is important if an applicant is to safeguard his or her position on the NHS list.
     Having seen a consultant, some applicants opt to book a date for private medical treatment before initiating an application to the NMSF. Whilst understandable, this approach can over-complicate the issue and put many people to much unnecessary time and effort.
     The Fund needs to be aware of any pre-booked treatment, and the applicant should give serious thought to postponing the private treatment until a response has been received, in writing, from the Fund. Applications received where a date for private medical treatment has already been booked will not be fast-tracked by staff at the NMSF and may ultimately become retrospective.
     Staff at the Fund are ready and willing to provide advice at any stage of an application. The sooner this advice is sought, the sooner a decision can be made as to whether or not an application is appropriate and, if so, how to proceed in the best interests of the applicant.

A `new' wife
When W Bro. David Wells first learnt that the NMSF might be able to provide support for his wife's medical condition the sense of relief took effect immediately.
     Suffering with terrible chest and arm pains, as well as being very short of breath, his wife Bridget underwent an angiogram, funded by the NMSF, which revealed that she had two blocked arteries.
     She then underwent an angioplasty, again funded by the NMSF, in the hope of restoring her quality of life. What should have been a 45-minute procedure turned into a two and a half hour operation as three arteries were found to be blocked, one of which gave the medical team cause for concern.
     Following surgery, Bridget is now home and, for the first time in over two and half years, is able to virtually run up the stairs, and with no chest pains.
     In writing to thank the NMSF, David Wells concludes his letter by saying:

     I cannot thank you enough for the assistance of the New Masonic Samaritan Fund, because I had my doubts that another seven-month wait on the NHS may have been too late for her. I now have a `brand new wife' and can't stop singing the praises of the Samaritan Fund team. Thank you so much.

     If you, or someone you know, is in medical need and, faced with a long wait for the NHS, cannot afford to fund their own private treatment, please contact the Fund on 020 7404 1550.
     Full advice on eligibility and the application process is readily available via a single phone call. The Fund can only help if it is aware of the need.


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