ISSUE 13, April 2005

The Campbells are coming: At speed!
Travel: Warming to Iceland
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part II
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and: Report of the Board of General Purposes
The flying eye hospital
Beamish Museum: The million pound project
  Wigan Grand Lodge: The Liverpool rebels
Chelsea Lodge: That's entertainment
Re-enactment: The way we were and: The Russian connection
Community Service: Weathering the storm
Faith and Freemasonry: God and the Craft
Education: Researching Freemasonry on the Internet and: Masonic events
Freemasons Hall: Masons at War
Grand Charity: Report and grant list and: Support for Asian tsunami
Masonic Charities: Reports from the Masonic charities
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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    Shortly before the Tsunami, the President of the Grand Charity approved an emergency grant of £15,000 to the British Red Cross in response to an emergency appeal for funds to help those affected by landslides and flooding in the Philippines following a number of powerful tropical storms and typhoons.
    Official figures estimated that 1,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands made homeless. The Red Cross, led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, had launched an appeal for £900,000 to help 250,000 people over the next three months.
    Money from that appeal will provide food, blankets and shelter materials. Although not itself affected by the tsunami, the District Grand Lodge of Hong Kong and the Far East immediately reacted to the tragedy. A donation of HK$250,000 was made to the Hong Kong Red Cross South East Asia Relief Fund.
    It was followed by donations of HK$10,000 to each of the District Grand Lodges of the Eastern Archipelago, Madras and Sri Lanka, which cover the areas worst affected by the tragedy, to enable them to give immediate relief to those who had lost everything.
    The District Grand Lodge of Madras, which covers the whole of southern India, gave immediate grants to its Lodges in the worst affected areas to provide local relief in the form of drinking water and temporary shelter to the homeless. Rather than a one-off donation to a major relief fund, Madras decided to give support to specific projects, fully realising that this would lead to a longterm commitment in terms of financial and practical support. Because children are the future and the most vulnerable group in society, the District is working with SOS Villages and Chatnath Homes on a project to provide safe villages, where orphaned children can be protected and educated until they are old enough to support themselves.
    An initial five million rupees has been provided to start the project and plans are being laid to provide continuing support for the future. The additional grant from the Grand Charity to the District (see previous page) will go towards this project.
    The District Grand Lodge of Sri Lanka is working with local aid agencies to support those who lost everything in the south coast towns and fishing villages, many of which disappeared when the Tsunami wave struck. Apart from the basic necessities of life, they require the necessary tools and equipment to enable them to rebuild the local agricultural and fishing industries.
    Although less affected by the tsunami, the Districts in north India are playing their part in the relief efforts. The District of Bengal made a significant donation to the Indian Government’s appeal, which was matched by personal donations from the District Grand Master and his officers. Donations from individuals and Lodges will be targeted to specific projects. The District of Bombay and Northern India has given money to the central appeal but, like Madras, is looking at the long-term and directing the generosity of its brethren and Lodges to specific projects.
    The District of the Eastern Archipelago, covering Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, made an initial donation to the international relief appeal and is now looking to local relief projects.
    Despite the great loss of life caused by the tsunami, almost miraculously there have been no reports of loss of life amongst Freemasons or their dependents in the affected areas.
    The devastation and loss have been unimaginable, but the Districts in the surrounding areas have reacted magnificently. In true Masonic spirit, they are providing not only immediate help, but are looking at the long-term effects of what has been the worst natural disaster for generations.


A bulldozer lifts a fishing boat in Therukapattu village, near Madras

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