Masons and Medical Research
The Grand Master strengthens the link between the Royal College of Surgeons and Freemasonry.
John Jackson reports.
Back in 1967, to mark the 250th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), a fund (to be called the Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Fund), was set up by asking every member of the Craft to donate £1. When the fund closed three years later, a total of £594,850 had been raised.
The sole object of the fund is the application of the income from its investments to furthering research in the science of surgery in conjunction with the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Now the College, to show their thanks for the support given by Freemasons over the years, has elected the Grand Master, the Duke of Kent an Honorary Fellow.
In their latest report, published last September, the trustees of the fund show that in 2001, grants from the fund to the College amounted to £140,000.
This brought the total amount granted by the fund to the College since its inception to £2,712,608. The trustees also approved grants totalling £120,000 for 2002.
To underline the close bond between the College and English Freemasonry, members of the College explained their work when they addressed the Regular Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter in February last year. At that convocation they spoke about the work being carried out by Freemasons' Research Fellows.
There is considerable competition for research fellowships granted by the College, funded by 33 companies, trusts and organisations, 13 joint award bodies and 38 endowment and legacy funds.
The College received more than 140 applications in 2002-2003 for one-year fellowships, but only about 30 are awarded each year, each worth around £40,000.
To further emphasise the close relationship between Freemasonry and surgical research, the Pro Grand Master, the Marquess of Northampton, accompanied by Deputy Grand Master lain Ross Bryce, Assistant Grand Master David Williamson and other senior Masons, visited the College last September.
During that visit, Professor Sir Peter Bell, chairman of the College Surgical Research Fellowship Scheme, and other College members, demonstrated various modern techniques used in training surgeons.
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